Black Family Sues White Neighbors For Racially-Motivated Discrimination, Harassment

A Black family residing in a predominantly white community in Accokeek, Maryland, is suing their neighbors for the alleged “blatant disregard” of their civil rights.

Angela and Prince Floyd are being represented by Justly Prudent, which filed the lawsuit on Juneteenth in response to the alleged harassment and discrimination the Black family has been subjected to by way of their white neighbors. According to a press release, the Floyds have been targets of continuous acts of racially motivated discrimination, harassment, and intimidation by other residents in the Calvert Manor neighborhood of Accokeek, Maryland.

Since becoming one of the first Black families in the community, along with becoming the first to own a waterfront property, the Floyds accuse their neighbors of filing over 100 police complaints against them where they were constantly referred to as “criminals.” Many of the complaints were filed when the Floyds hosted private gatherings at their home but noticed other White residents in the community faced no scrutiny or backlash when routinely hosting private gatherings at their respective residences.

Elsewhere, the Floyds assert they were unfairly denied membership in the Calvert Manor Civic Association (CMCA), a neighborhood organization predominantly made up of white residents. Defendants Richard Wallace, Diane Wallace, Maria Femia, Thomas Cassidy, and Stephen Rannacher are accused of conspiring together to misuse their political connections to target the Floyds with unjustified law enforcement and code enforcement actions like issuing frivolous citations and installing “No Parking” signs along the Floyds’ property line.

“The actions taken against the Floyds are deeply troubling and represent a blatant disregard for their civil rights,” Jordan D. Howlette, Managing Attorney at Justly Prudent, said.

“No family should have to endure such egregious acts of harassment and discrimination based on their race, especially within their own community. This lawsuit seeks accountability for the substantial harm inflicted upon the Floyds and other families like them while also serving as a reminder that everyone has federally protected rights to enjoy their home without fear of racial bias and intimidation.”

According to the complaint, the defendants also wrongfully used the Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE), the Nuisance Abatement Board (NAB), and other County agencies to further harass and intimidate the Floyds, including unlawfully limiting the Black family’s use and enjoyment of their home by subjecting them to treatment that white residents in the neighborhood didn’t endure.

The lawsuit cites multiple federal and state laws in describing how the Floyd’s civil rights were violated, including Sections 1981 and 1982 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1983 of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, and the Fair Housing Act. The Floyds are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent further harassment and discrimination.

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