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View Diary: New Crime: Owning Home While Black (126 comments)

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  •  the neighbors should have called the police (19+ / 1-)

    instead of confronting the Kalonjis with guns, obviously. Anyone would be understandably concerned with squatters taking over a vacant home in their neighborhood, but confronting with guns is just stupid and dangerous vigilantism and a rush to judgement.

    But the police -- arresting the Kalonjis and holding them in jail overnight? -- damn! A phone call to the real estate agent would prove the Kalonjis' story. That police department needs serious change in attitude and methods, and some ongoing sunlight.

    Yeah, welcome to the neighborhood, Kalonjis. I hope the Kalonjis get some compensation out of this.

    The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

    by SoCalSal on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 02:52:27 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, very strange. (24+ / 0-)

      I don't mind people calling the police to report strange people, although here there's definitely a risk the "strangeness" was skin color.  But the whole thing went to shit went guns were pulled and then it appears that the police didn't undertake any sort of serious investigation.  They could have done all sorts of things - called the real estate agent, allowed one of the two to go home or wherever the paperwork was (even if with a patrolman escorting, if they were really obsessed with this), consulted the clerk's office, if it was a weekday... very strange decision-making here.

      And I won't speak for Georgia law, which may well have a shoot-first law on the books, but under traditional law of assault, you don't get to pull a gun on someone just because you believe them to be trespassing on someone else's property.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 03:07:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Racism plain and simple. (6+ / 0-)

      The police (and the neighbors) assumed that because the husband was black that he must be a criminal.  End of story.  They didn't consider any other possibility or bother to do a thing.  They most likely enjoyed harassing these people.  And the "neighbors" probably hope they scared the "strange" couple off.

      Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

      by Back In Blue on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 04:26:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What the fuck are you talking about?! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, mamamedusa, sethtriggs
      the neighbors should have called the police
      For what?!  Because a couple was changing the locks on a house they own?!  Because a couple was outside in front of their own house in their own fucking yard!?!

      Whatever happened to introducing yourself?!

      Have you googled Romney today?

      by fou on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:48:53 PM PDT

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      •  My choice would be to walk over to say "hi", (0+ / 0-)

        not to call the police and certainly not to show up with guns. In fact, that's what I did in my own neighborhood this week. That said, I understand why someone could be concerned about squatters in their neighborhood. The foreclosed property had probably been vacant for months. In my area, no "sold" or "in escrow" is posted on bank-owned properties, so neighbors don't know when bank-owned properties have been sold, particularly on the day of sale.

        There have been numbers of news items about the problems caused by squatters in foreclosed and vacant homes. I am personally aware of neighborhood blights by squatters in years past.

        If it turns out that the neighbors are racists who were attempting to intimidate their new, black neighbors, that's reprehensible. So far, nothing in the news report shows that is the case.

        Calm down, fou. I'm on the side of the Kalonjis.

        The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

        by SoCalSal on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:59:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The issue isn't whether or not squatters (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mamamedusa, sethtriggs, Deep Texan

          are a problem.  The issue is whether or not these people were squatters.  Clearly, they were not.  There is and can be no evidence that they were, because they were not.  And yet, you think that these neighbors should have called the cops even though the couple was committing no crime, ... because ... of what?  Because squatters are a so-called problem?!  Are you going to call the cops the next time you see someone getting in a car and driving it because car theft is a fucking problem?

          It's good you're on the side of the couple, but that should go without saying, no?  Any person who isn't a mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging racist would be, so ...  Not sure where you're going with that one.

          You don't call the cops unless you have clear and convincing evidence that a crime is being committed.  It's really appalling that I even have to say that.

          Have you googled Romney today?

          by fou on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:11:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  fou, here's what I've learned from (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Debby, Clues

            this exchange with you: that I should be more careful with what I write in the subject line of my comments. You seem to be reacting only to the subject line and not the content.

            To reiterate: My outrage about the story is 1) that the neighbors showed up with guns, menacing vigilante-style; and 2) that the police arrested the Kalonjis.

            I'm done with this conversation.

            The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

            by SoCalSal on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:45:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The Atlanta area (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SoCalSal

        has the worst housing market in the country.  Foreclosed homes are everywhere.  I don't know how big a problem squatting is there, but I DO know there's a huge problem with foreclosed houses being stripped, especially of copper.  This is not strictly a nighttime activity.

        If I lived in some subdivision in Atlanta with foreclosed homes in it and saw someone messing with the locks on a foreclosed home, I'd probably get the license plate number of the car and call the police.

        FWIW -  how is a neighbor supposed to know that someone messing with the locks on a foreclosed house is the owner?

        It's too bad the police were so stupid about the whole thing.

        •  Ummm (0+ / 0-)
          FWIW -  how is a neighbor supposed to know that someone messing with the locks on a foreclosed house is the owner?
          They can fucking ask?!  For that matter, how the Hell would I know if you belong in your house?  Should I call the cops when I see you enter your home simply because you could be robbing the place?

          Why would people changing locks on a house be stealing copper in it?  Had the neighbors not been racist assholes, a simple 'welcome to the neighborhood' introduction would have cleared up any ambiguity.  It's fair to introduce yourself to people you don't know.  It's not fair to intimidate them at gun point and/or call the police without any evidence they're doing something wrong.  In fact, calling the police because you see someone who 'fits the profile' of a squatter or a criminal is called profiling.  

          I didn't think I'd have to argue against that on a liberal blog.

          Have you googled Romney today?

          by fou on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:46:25 AM PDT

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          •  Your screename is apt (0+ / 0-)

            First, in a neighborhood, you know tend to know who lives there and who doesn't, what cars are generally around, etc.  Second, I'm not going to walk up to people who I don't recognize as being neighbors and ask them what they're doing.  It's dangerous, especially for women.  Third, from a distance you have no way of knowing whether someone is changing locks, picking locks, or breaking locks.

            Calling the police IS the correct thing to do when you see someone you don't recognize from your neighborhood fiddling with the locks on a foreclosed house.  

            The real problem is that sometimes the police can't refrain from acting like assholes and handle things politely and intelligently.  The other real problem is that people approached them with guns, which is ridiculous.

            You're being pretty crazy about this.  Having lived in a neighborhood where vacant property has been vandalized and gutted, I'm not about to go walking up to anyone trying to get into a foreclosed house.  Jeebus, I suppose you'd say that women who cross the street to avoid men walking toward them after dark should just stay where they are and introduce themselves?

            Get a clue.

    •  I'm sorry, but this bullshit pisses me off. (6+ / 0-)

      You're actually saying that people should call the police absent any reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed?!  You're saying people should call the police in order to make sure that strange "squatters" (blacks or interracial couples) aren't suspicious, but that taking a gun out is 'going too far'?!

      Well you know what, calling the goddamned police to make sure that strangers aren't suspicious is going waaay too goddamned fucking far too, and yet 13 people think this is somehow acceptable enough to recommend?!

      It is not okay to call the fucking cops because you haven't seen someone before and because they belong to a race that makes you uncomfortable.  It is not okay to call the cops because you think someone might be a "squatter" when you have absolutely no evidence outside of your fevered, racist imagination that this is the case.  The idea that it's okay to call the cops because you haven't see someone before, or because of what you 'think' they 'might' be doing is not only asinine, it's dangerous.  This kind of willingness to call the cops and escalate a situation is the reason people get wrongfully killed.

      And if you believe that these neighbors actually thought these people were 'squatters', it's no wonder you think they should have called the fucking police.

      HRed.

      Have you googled Romney today?

      by fou on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:09:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the point was... (4+ / 0-)

        that if they were worried about a crime in progress the only thing they should have done was call the police, not that they automatically should have assumed that the couple were committing a crime.

        The best thing would have been to walk over and say hello, but if there were any reason to believe something illegal were happening (which seems a huge stretch in this case) the call to the coppers would have been the logical and appropriate step rather than instigating an armed confrontation.

        Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa? Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Hwær sindon seledreamas?
        Eala beorht bune! Eala byrnwiga! Eala þeodnes þrym!

        by Alea iacta est on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:54:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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