The complaint alleges discrimination and ensures that Latinos and African Americans were evicted based on a demo demographic problem ’

United States Department of Justice prosecutors filed a lawsuit against the city of Hesperia and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for alleged discriminatory practices with the objective of illegally evicting Latino and African-American tenants.

This is based on an ordinance that local government officials called a "demographic problem."

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by federal prosecutor Nicola T. Hanna; in addition to David M. Harris, head of the civil division of the DOJ, lawyer Karen P. Ruckert, head of the civil rights section of the Civil Division and Matthew Nickell, California prosecutor.

According to the legal claim, the defendants "have been involved in a pattern or practice of discrimination against residents and future residents of Hesperia due to their racial and national origin."
The defendants – the claim affirms – promulgated and executed the ordinance with the intention and the effect of disproportionately impacting African-American and Latino tenants.

The complaint adds that in November 2015, the city of Hesperia, “with substantial support from the Sheriff's Department” —which provides the city's local police services — enacted an ordinance for rental property owners to evict their Tenants if the Sheriff notified them that a tenant participated in an alleged criminal activity on or near the property.

"This is no surprise," said Chantelle Herchzberger – a Los Angeles activist who is against the actions of the agents.

"If they participated, it is part of the oppression they make for their racism … The same racism that Donald Trump propagates."

In figures

According to DATAUSA, the city of Hesperia has a population of 93,200 residents with an average age of 30.4 years and a family income of almost $ 49,726 a year.

There, Latinos make up 56.6% of the total residents; 34.8% were white and 4.58% African American. 91.7% were US citizens.

The ordinance also required verification of criminal records and investigations by the Sheriff's Department for renters and annual inspections of rental properties by law enforcement officers.

“Although the city allegedly enacted the ordinance to reduce crime, its true purpose was to address a so-called 'demographic problem' to remove African-American and Latino tenants from their homes and from Hesperia, and thus deter other African-Americans and Latinos from moving to the city, ”says the lawsuit.

The indictment also indicates that the Sheriff's Department was responsible for enforcing the ordinance and exercised substantial discretion to target African-American and Latino tenants, as well as tenants who lived in minority areas of Hesperia.

"It demanded evictions of entire families for conduct that involved a tenant or even guests or relatives, evictions of victims of domestic violence and evictions in the absence of concrete evidence of criminal activity," the document said.

"He also threatened and took action against housing providers that did not evict tenants under the ordinance restrictions."

"What I've been seeing is that building owners are remodeling them and throwing out all the people," said Julio Gonzalez, an apartment manager. "They do it to increase everyone's income."

Chantelle Herchzberger is an activist from Los Angeles.

Discriminatory phrases

According to the lawsuit, Councilman Russ Blewett said the purpose of the ordinance was to "correct a demographic problem."

He said he "didn't care" that the owners and organizations – including the Association of Apartment Homes, the construction industry and the Board of Real Estate Agents – disagreed.

Blewett would have said that the city needed to “improve demography” and that “those kinds of people” to whom the ordinance would be aimed were “without addition and without value for this
community". Besides that "I wanted to get them out of our city."

Eric Schmidt, mayor of Hesperia during the time the ordinance was promulgated, declared: “I cannot overcome the fact that we are allowing. . ., people from Los Angeles County move to our neighborhoods because it is a cheap place to live and a place to hide. ”

He also said that "the people who make us worse are not from here" and that "they come from another place with their contaminated history."

Provisional Mayor Bill Holland said: "[We are] surgically pursuing those elements that create an excessive amount of problems in each neighborhood" and "you are trying to eliminate them, you are trying to get them out and make them go elsewhere."

Julio González, manager of an apartment complex, said building owners evict people under the pretext that they are remodeling the place.

He also stated that the purpose of the ordinance was to get each owner to “release his rent. . . Of that plague. ”

An interview request with the current mayor of Hesperia to address this issue was not answered until the close of this edition.

While Cindy Bachman, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Forensic Department, said in a brief statement that “we are aware of the lawsuit and disagree with the allegations. We intend to defend this case in court. ”


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