A lawsuit claims U.S. Marshals treated the eviction of a mother and her child like they were “conducting a raid on a violent criminal enterprise.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of D.C. filed the suit today in the District of Columbia’s federal court on behalf of Donya Williams and her daughter, who was 12 when the eviction took place.
Three years ago, a judge ordered the U.S. Marshals Service, which oversees evictions in Washington, D.C., to evict Williams from her apartment for not paying rent.
When he heard banging on the door, a friend of Williams’ opened the door to the apartment, and six marshals burst into the apartment with their guns drawn, the lawsuit said. When she heard them come into her home, Williams attempted to dress in her bedroom, but two marshals entered the room even though she warned them she was naked.
According to the lawsuit, the marshals refused to let her dress before she left the apartment, so Williams grabbed the nearest clothes she could find as she was rushed out of her home. She accidentally put on her daughter’s pants, which split at the crotch, leaving her exposed.
After they were forced out of the apartment, the marshals allowed Williams’ daughter and friend to return to the home to change into more appropriate clothing. Williams was not allowed to change, forcing her to remain exposed in front of a 20-man eviction crew, as well as the apartment’s administrative staff, the lawsuit said.
While moving her family’s belongings after the eviction crew placed them outside, Williams found that a television, tablet and other items were missing, and bleach had been poured into two bags filled with clothes, ruining them.
The ACLU had filed a complaint regarding the incident on Williams’ behalf against the U.S. Marshals Service last year, but never received a response.
Note: This report was made possible with the support of Big If True’s readers.