Ex-landlords acknowledge slurs, settle discrimination suit

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ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia couple has acknowledged using racial slurs and violating civil rights and fair housing laws when they evicted a tenant who had invited a black family to visit the home she was renting.

Patricia and Allen McCoy also apologized to ex-tenant Victoria Sutton in their settlement to Sutton’s lawsuit and paid her $150,000.

Sutton, who is white, filed the housing discrimination lawsuit in July against the McCoys, her white former landlords, saying they used racial slurs when telling her to leave the home. They reached a settlement agreement last month, and the parties filed a dismissal notification Thursday in federal court.

Sutton and her family moved into the house in Adairsville, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, in August 2017.

As a black co-worker with a young child was leaving after a play date with Sutton's daughters on Sept. 30, 2018, the co-worker hugged Sutton goodbye. Later that day, Allen McCoy came to the house and called Sutton a "(racial slur) lover," the lawsuit says.

He told her he would call Child Protective Services for having a black person on the property and told Sutton she had two weeks to move out, the lawsuit says. When Sutton protested, McCoy told her to call his wife and threatened to call the police if Sutton's black friend came onto his property again.

Sutton called Patricia McCoy and recorded the call, during which McCoy repeatedly used a racial slur, the lawsuit says. Patricia McCoy told her, “I don't put up with (racial slurs) in my house and I don't want them in my property.”

Patricia McCoy told The Associated Press in July that they didn't kick Sutton out over black visitors. But in the settlement agreement and dismissal notification, the McCoys acknowledged making the statements attributed to them in the lawsuit.

The McCoys apologized for any harm and suffering Sutton and her family endured because of their eviction and paid her $150,000, which includes her attorneys' fees.

“Racial discrimination is as real and insidious today as it was sixty years ago and must be called out and stopped,” one of Sutton's attorneys, Brian Corman, said in an emailed statement. “It was of the utmost importance to Ms. Sutton that the McCoys acknowledge and apologize for their wrongdoing and for the harm they have caused, and we hope this lawsuit shows that racism will not be tolerated in any form.”

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