October 10, 2021
A woman is at her wit’s end following the discovery that she owes a bogus sum to the authorities for 911 calls and stands a chance of losing her home.
Growing fines over 911 calls made over the years could cause a woman, Gloria Parker, to lose her home in Euclid, Ohio. The crippling reality is in line with the South Euclid anti-nuisance law allowing the city to fine residents if cops showed up repeatedly at their homes.
After years of residing in her home purchased post-retirement, the 70-year-old is left with a fine of over $12,000, just for summoning the cops. Unable to afford the fine, the woman is at risk of being subjected to tax foreclosure and ultimately losing the home she worked so hard to obtain.
The fines, often added to her property taxes, piled up mostly due to her schizophrenic son’s health issues. Her adult son, who didn’t reside with the woman, had a habit of calling the emergency line whenever things didn’t feel right.
His worsening mental health condition called for more regular visits from the cops. The young man once called the emergency line to make bizarre complaints about his mom and family members, prompting officers to show up at her place.
On another occasion, the schizophrenic man complained to the emergency line operator that he was suicidal, prompting yet another visit.
While those police visits were notably frequent, the anti-nuisance law only permits a home to be declared problematic if repeated nuisance activities happen near the same address within a year. Such incidents range from assault to stink bomb possession.
Getting fined for the activities of her son living with a mental health condition seemed overboard. Hence, Parker filed a lawsuit against the city in August, alleging violations of the Americans with Disability Act and her constitutional rights. She explained:
“I feel that no one is there to help me. I just feel like they don’t care. It bothers me because I might be homeless. And I don’t know what to do. I worked all my life. What am I to do? Where am I to go?”
The South Euclid woman claimed the nuisance ordinance was only used against the black population in the city. She gave instances of her white neighbors who never got fined even after repeated police summons.
Parker accused South Euclid of maintaining a pattern of “applying its criminal nuisance ordinance selectively” against people with disabilities, their families, and people of color.
The increasing fines have led Parker to leave in fear of having to summon the cops over her son’s health. She sometimes resorts to sleeping in the parking lot or preventing her son from visiting just to avoid calling the cops to her house when an emergency arises.
Despite all her precautions, the sum is just too much for Parker to afford as a 70-year-old retiree. Knowing the consequence of her inability to pay the fine is to be kicked out into the street is a scary reality she sadly has to live with.
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