LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The California Department of Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Black man who alleges he experienced continued discrimination after renting a room in San Diego County and that his owner told him, “Your people are always making trouble.”
The CRD is charged with the prosecutorial power to investigate, negotiate, and litigate civil rights enforcement actions and has an office in Los Angeles County. The lawsuit filed on behalf of black plaintiff Abdifatah Abdullahi against the Peter F. DeLuke Trust seeks an injunction restraining future discrimination as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
A representative for the trust could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on October 31.
The CRD completed its investigation into Abdullahi’s complaints in June and, based on the evidence, “found reason to believe that the defendants subjected Mr. Abdullahi to threats of violence, discrimination, harassment and retaliation because of his race,” the lawsuit states. Attempts to resolve the issues without litigation have been unsuccessful, according to the CRD.
The Trustee of the Peter F. DeLuke Trust is Peter DeLuke Sr. In October 2020, Abdullahi inquired about the availability of a room in a Lemon Grove home owned by Peter DeLuke Jr. The room had been advertised for rent on Craigslist for $580 a month. $250 rent and utilities, the suit says.
Upon seeing the room, Abdullahi noticed blood and hair on the carpet and walls, but DeLuke Jr. told him he would have to pay if he wanted the room cleaned and the rent had to be paid in cash , says the lawsuit.
“Mr. Abdullahi agreed to these terms because he felt desperate to find accommodation,” according to the lawsuit, which further states that Abdullahi was homeless after being fired from his job as an airline industry worker in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
DeLuke Jr. subjected Abdullahi and the only other black tenant to continued discrimination and a hostile living environment because of their race, saying “Your people are always causing trouble,” “You’re lazy,” and “You’re always looking for alms,” the suit states.
DeLuke Jr. also called the other black tenant the “N-word” on several occasions, according to the lawsuit. In a text message to the other black resident, DeLuke Jr. wrote, “I’m a racist,” according to the lawsuit.
DeLuke Jr.’s alleged behavior made Abdullahi feel anxious and in danger because he didn’t know what the man was capable of when he got angry, according to the lawsuit, which further states that DeLuke Jr. “mentioned that he kept guns and other weapons at the property.”
DeLuke Jr. demanded that black tenants pay extra fees for various reasons that were not required of white residents, the suit says. DeLuke Jr. also routinely entered black tenants’ bedrooms without notice and once knocked on the bathroom door while Abdullahi was showering, telling him he wanted a smoke detector installed. , indicates the suit.
DeLuke Jr. then made racist statements when Abdullahi tried to block him from entering his bedroom, according to the suit. After Abdullahi called the sheriff’s department to complain about DeLuke Jr.’s alleged use of racial language, the landlord later created even more uninhabitable conditions at the home in retaliation, the suit says.
Abdullahi was finally forced to leave in February due to continuing problems at home and he remained homeless until June, the lawsuit says.
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