A Utah man says he has been harassed by neighbors because of his race, including having been called racial slurs and other issues since moving into the neighborhood, ABC 4 Utah reports.
It all started when Sam Smith tried to buy a home in his Taylorsville neighborhood about 13 years ago. Smith says he spent the better half of six months trying to buy his house but was told each time by the homeowner that it was already sold. Smith finally called a friend to ask about the house.
That friend, who is white, was quickly given a meeting with the homeowner and was sold the house the next day. The friend purchased the home with Smith’s money and then handed over the residence to Smith. Smith says he believes the homeowner didn’t want to sell to him because he is black, but says he didn’t think much of it once he had successfully purchased his new home.
Things, however, went downhill from there, Smith says. He said neighbors have complained about him over the slightest infraction, with a handful of complaints each year. Smith says he doesn’t understand the problem, since, he says, he minds his own business.
“I’m not bothering nobody, and then I get all of this,” he told the news station.
ABC 4 Utah reports that what Smith is specifically referencing is an Aug. 4 encounter while he was out working in his yard. According to the report, a neighbor came up and inquired as to what he was doing. When Smith answered, the neighbor allegedly began using racial slurs.
“She began using racial slurs and then saying she checked with the whole neighborhood, who say that they don't want me here and that I should do everybody a favor and just leave. … I just mind my business,” Smith told the station. “But apparently, what she’s saying, she’s talked to the neighborhood and they don’t want me here and that I need to leave, and that blacks are this way and blacks are that way, and if I was white, I would’ve done this.”
Authorities were called to the home and a complaint was filed. Smith gave a statement to officers who spoke to the woman. Officers reportedly indicated that the woman was upset about the way Smith had treated her. Smith says the officers stated that the neighbor admitted to using the n-word and that police labeled the encounter “disorderly conduct.”
While the police were there, Smith says, the woman’s husband arrived at his residence.
“He coming towards me and saying I’m going to kick your ass,” Smith recalled, adding that the man threatened him even while the officers were there.
Officers reportedly defused the situation and then left.
However, the next day, Smith ran into more trouble. Smith says he parked his truck and ran into his home to get something, only to find his driver’s-side window broken upon his return. The police were again called and another complaint fined.
“My truck, less than 24 hours, the window is shot out,” Smith said, according to the station. “I just said, ‘Hey! This is crazy!’ I’ve never had a problem, but apparently there is a problem. I’m not aware of it because like I said, I just mind my own business.”
The homeowner now fears going outside, even into his own yard, and has purchased a home-security system to install around his home.
Read more at ABC 4 Utah.