With all the hate crimes going on these days, it can be hard sometimes to remember that it’s the 2010s and not the 1960s, but strides have been made and there are laws in place to protect everyone’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
A resident of Mount Prospect, Illinois recently allegedly violated some of these rights granted to the members of an African-American family that moved in to her neighborhood. The members of the family in question (Iris Howe and her grown children, Samuel Mobley and Sidney Powell) filed a civil lawsuit against their neighbor, Terry Calliari, for allegedly making them the targets of racial harassment.
According to the civil complaint, Calliari allegedly made repeated use of racial slurs, tried to prevent Howe and her children from using the pool included in the complex, followed them, and blocked their paths with her car. The lawsuit alleges the harassment began the day they moved in – when Calliari allegedly used a racial epithet to refer to her new neighbors – and continued for the next five years.
In those five years, the civil lawsuit alleges that Calliari’s persistent racial harassment against the family prevented them from enjoying their basic rights to enjoy their own home, personal property, and community in peace.
One specific alleged incident included in the complain happened in 2013 when Calliari allegedly drove past Mobley and Powell walking in the street because their neighborhood does not have sidewalks. Calliari allegedly made a U-turn, pulled up just behind them, called them a racial slur, and told them to move out of the way.
The lawsuit further pointed out that, on one of these occasions of racial harassment prior to the filing of the lawsuit, the police were called and tried to arrange a mediation session between the two parties, but Calliari allegedly failed to respond when the mediator tried to reach her.
The attorney for Howe and her children released a statement saying the family is completely traumatized by the whole affair and have since moved to another suburb. Nevertheless, they agreed it was important to pursue the lawsuit to send a message that they would not tolerate such prejudice and to remind Calliari and others that these actions are in violation of the laws that govern and protect all of us.
Calliari has agreed to settle the lawsuit with the Howe family outside of court. Although she has publicly refused to admit she did anything illegal, an apology was included as part of the settlement agreement and, according to Calliari’s attorney, the apology has been handled in a way that was agreed upon by both parties.
Although neither side would disclose the exact terms of the settlement, one of the attorneys representing Howe and her family has said the monetary portion of the settlement is substantial and should serve as a warning to other residents who are unwilling to get along with the people of color living in their neighborhood.
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