A Norristown woman who was hit on the head with an ashtray and stabbed in the neck with broken glass by her ex-boyfriend ended up being airlifted to a hospital because she’d been too afraid to call police when her attacker showed up. She had already been threatened with eviction after calling the police when the same ex-boyfriend attacked her with a brick, and was now on a “probationary period” in terms of being evicted from her apartment.
But before you blame the landlord, consider this: According to Norristown’s municipal code, the borough had the power to revoke or suspend a landlord’s rental license if cops were called “three times in four months for ‘disorderly behavior'”–including domestic violence. In this case, the borough had already revoked the landlord’s rental license and said they’d forcibly remove the tenant from the home if more calls were made during this “probation.”
Though the borough can no longer suspend or revoke a license as a result of police calls, it can levy a fine of $1,000 per day against the landlord–which the ACLU, now filing federal suit agains Norristown, says still discourages calls to police even in desperate situations.