A lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleges that police officers in Stockton, California, illegally searched the homes of people of color and those with disabilities living in publically-subsidized housing, all under the guise of standard inspections.
The nine plaintiffs are all residents in the Adobe Hacienda apartments, and they are all black, Hispanic or living with disabilities. In the suit, filed on Tuesday, they say that the police are systematically entering their homes with little to no warning, despite a municipal code that requires 21 days notice. When they enter, often without actual permission, the residents charge that the police ransack their belongings, demand access to unrelated personal information such as bills, and threaten them with arrests and evictions. They plaintiffs are seeking $1 million in damages.
The inspection program is referred to as the Neighborhood Blitz, and the plaintiffs say it is being used to target and monitor low-income renters in “high crime areas.” They also question why resources aren’t being used to engage with property owners who don’t make repairs or treat pests. There are already lawsuits pending against the city and the owner of Adobe Hacienda, Ravi Sanwal.