City of Joliet, Ill., sued by U.S. government over its effort to destroy federally subsidized low-income housing complex, Evergreen Terrace, through eminent domain on the basis of race, because residents, mainly blacks, are “rats.”

The city of Joliet has been sued by the U.S. government in an effort to stop it from destroying a federally subsidized low-income housing complex that houses most of the city’s poor people: 730 of the residents are black and Joliet has no plans to find new places for them, Courthouse News reports. City officials have called the housing a “cancer” and a “tumor” and its residents “rats.”

Prosecutors say Joliet’s plans to seize Evergreen Terrace through eminent domain, and destroy it, “were taken because of the race or color and of the current and prospective tenants of Evergreen Terrace. The purpose and effect of the City’s actions and proposed actions are to limit or reduce the number of Black or African-American residents residing within the City of Joliet. Such actions, if carried out, would have a disproportionate adverse impact on African-Americans and operate to perpetuate segregation in Joliet.”The 356-unit federally subsidized apartment complex houses 764 residents, 95.6 percent of whom are black. Evergreen Terrace houses the majority of Joliet’s low-income residents, and the city has no plan to relocate residents to affordable housing elsewhere, prosecutors say.

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