July 11, 2008

Jury rules racism in Ohio case

Posted in Court tagged , , at 5:42 pm by Katharine Lackey

The U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio has found that 68 residents in the Coal Run area outside of Zanesville were denied public water service from 1950 until 2004 because of the color of their skin, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Racial discrimination damages mounted to $10.9 million for current and former residents of the neighborhood. Each individual received between $15,000 and $300,000 for their suffering depending on how long they lived in the neighborhood.

The jury found that city and county officials violated federal and state fair-housing and civil-rights laws by not extending waterlines to Coal Run until 2004. Surrounding white residents had public water, but not Coal Run residents.

One of the plaintiffs recalled his childhood in Coal Run.

As a child, Martin’s parents would fill the bathtub and not change the water until five of the 10 children in the family had bathed in order to conserve the water trucked in to the cistern.

In a remark, one which should never be made in America, a resident says,

“It was never about the money,” said Kennedy, a church custodian. “We just wanted water.

“I’m just glad for the older people who live out here and got to see running water before they die.”

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