Sunday, August 5, 2012
Ohio Landlord Sued Over "White Only" Pool Sign (SMH)
Jamie Heinn, a Cincinnati, Ohio landlord who placed a "white only" sign at the pool in his apartment complex, may have to pay up for being racist. On Friday (Aug. 3), former tenant, Michael Gunn, testified at a hearing at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission that he was outraged to see the sign, which was aimed at his Black daughter.
Gunn, who is White, said his 10-year-old daughter lived with her mother but would visit him often. During Memorial Day Weekend in 2011 the girl swam in the pool, resulting in Hein sending Gunn a text accusing his daughter of clouding the water with the products in her hair. She also banned Gunn's daughter from re-entry without taking a shower and wearing a swim cap, and later posted a sign reading "Public Swimming Pool, White Only."
After seeing the sign, Gunn said he was so angry that he was shaking, and was forced to move, to protect his daughter. "She shouldn't have to think about the color of her skin in relation to what people think about her," he said. Relocating resulted in Gunn losing time at work, and having to pay higher rent. He also claims to have suffered emotional distress.
Last September, the commission found Hein guilty of breaking Ohio's Civil Rights Act. The hearing was held to determine if the landlord will have to pay punitive and compensatory damages.
Hein did not attend the hearing, waving his right to appear by failing to respond to legal notices. A ruling is not expected for months.
While Hein may end up paying, all racist acts don't make it to the legal level. A Georgia bar owner posted a sign stating calling President Obama the "ni**er in the white house," but was protected under the 1st Amendment "Freedom of Speech" right. Meanwhile, a couple in Mississippi couldn't get married in the church they attend, because White members didn't want a Black couple tying the knot in the location. The couple moved their wedding to another church.