Norristown Pennsylvania Renters Evicted for Calling 911


Main Street station in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Norristown has what’s called a three strikes law, which threatens renters with eviction if they call 911 three times within four months. Their landlords lose their rental license under the ordinance, which is designed to promote safe neighborhoods in the gritty suburb.

“Every strike has a chilling effect on whether you’re going to make that outreach (to police) … and incur that strike,” said lawyer Sandra Park of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project in New York.

Park has been monitoring similar laws around the country, which are often aimed at addressing drug activity or reducing nuisance calls to 911. The ACLU filed a test case on behalf of Briggs that challenges the constitutionality of such ordinances. Federal court arguments are set for this month in Philadelphia.

“I felt like I was being punished for being assaulted,” Briggs, a 34-year-old nursing assistant, said Friday.

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