ACLU suing Maplewood over law that could kick residents out for - KMOV.com

ACLU suing Maplewood over law that could kick residents out for multiple 911 calls

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)
MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

"They don't even care about me. I'm a human being," said Kathy Elliott.

Elliott lived in Maplewood for four years, and she said the city made her feel ostracized. 

"I worked just as hard as everybody else to be where I am and if you need help, you need help," said Elliott.

Elliott told News 4 she suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, her behavioral health coordinator would call 911 on her behalf. Maplewood's nuisance ordinance allows the town to vote to expel anyone with two or more emergency calls associated with their address.

"I had some instances where I wish I would've called 911, but I was afraid," said Elliott. "I felt like a marked person."

Elliott said she'll never forget what a Maplewood police officer told her when he arrived at her apartment in response to a suicide call.

"[He said] 'You should have just offed yourself, you're costing the city a lot of money,'" recalled Elliott.

Elliott's landlord evicted her in 2016 after the city sent several notices about her occupancy permit hearing.

"I don't think there's malicious intent behind these laws, but there is a disparate impact," said Lennox Mark, a representative of the Metro St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.

EHOC is co-hosting a community meeting Wednesday evening with the ACLU, the group suing the city of Maplewood over what it considers an unconstitutional nuisance ordinance.

"If you're afraid to call 911 because you're afraid you'll suffer an eviction, that places people in a position of vulnerability that they don't deserve," said Mark.

News 4 reached out to Maplewood City Manager Marty Corcoran.

Corcoran said he can't comment due to the pending case, but the city strongly disagrees with the ACLU and EHOC position.

The ACLU's suit against the city of Maplewood goes to trial in November.

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