A New Jersey couple is suing a local city council member and their home borough for allegedly harassing them since moving into their neighborhood eight years ago, The Cherry Hill Courier Post reports.
The suit, filed in federal court, accuses Lindenwold Councilman Joseph Strippoli, has been discriminating against the couple because they are interracial; Strippoli reportedly Deborah Patterson, who is white, “why she had to go and marry someone like her husband.” Patterson’s husband, Alfred, is black.
Strippoli, a former mayor of Lindenwold, also allegedly used his clout as a council member to send police to the Pattersons’ home 32 times for issues ranging from noise complaints to what the suit claims is selective enforcement of housing code violations, like having a basketball hoop on their curb.
“Five other non-interracial homes in the plaintiff’s neighborhood currently have basketball hoops on the curb and have never been cited for a violation,” the lawsuit states.
WCAU-TV reports that the Pattersons are asking for $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
“They just want this harassment to stop,” said the couple’s attorney, Thomas Bruno. “Whatever they try to do to ameliorate or appease the borough, they keep moving the goal post.”