Spartanburg neighbor dispute laced with claims of racism - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg neighbor dispute laced with claims of racism, harassment

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Spartanburg neighbors blame each other for ongoing dispute. (May 16, 2014/FOX Carolina) Spartanburg neighbors blame each other for ongoing dispute. (May 16, 2014/FOX Carolina)

Two houses on Fremont Avenue are now separated by two driveways, a fence and an ongoing dispute. The dispute divides the families who live in the homes.

"They'll call me n-----, they'll call me a black b----, they threaten to kill me," Christina Whiteside said. "If my kids are outside playing ball, they call the police."

On Thursday, Whiteside said her neighbor, William Owens, didn't want her next door because she's African-American and because he wanted his daughter to move into the home she's renting.

She said Owens has threatened to kill her children when they're outside playing because he thinks they're making too much noise.

However, Owens says that's not true.

"She just started throwing water across the fence and trying to hit me with it," Owens said.

Both Owens and Whiteside have claims of harassment.

"She and her friends say 'I'm going to kill you, you're going to die tonight,'" Owens said. "They play their music loud and they've thrown eggs at my house."

The dispute started nearly four years ago. Both families are able to live in the homes at a lower rate based on their incomes with vouchers funded by the federal government and the Spartanburg Housing Authority.

There are strict rules for living in the homes and Whiteside said Owens often calls the police to get her arrested so she'll get kicked out of the house. Now members with the NAACP are supporting her and said something has to be done.

"What happened to fair and equal housing is the question?" said W.T. Lewis, director of communications with NAACP's Spartanburg branch. "We want to prevent a bad situation before it escalates to someone getting killed."

Whiteside said Owens asked her to move.

"I want to stay there. I've got that right to stay there," Whiteside said.

Owens said someone recently threw a brick through his window. He believes Whiteside is involved.

"It was like boom, boom! It scared me and there was glass everywhere," Owens said.

Whiteside said she has documents and proof of Owens' ongoing harassment.

"I got arrested and thrown in jail for noise and public disorderly conduct and it got thrown out of court," Whiteside said.

Although Owens admits he called Whiteside's friend names, he said he did so after Whiteside's friend called him a racial slur.

"I did call him a sorry a-- n----- and I told him he was a disgrace to his race," Owens said.

Owens said he's not moving either.

"I'll have to come up with $110,000 to pay," Owens said.

Because of the ongoing dispute, the city of Spartanburg put up a fence and created separate driveways so the neighbors didn't have to share one anymore. However, it didn't stop the fighting.

Police with Spartanburg Public Safety said they received more than 60 calls from both neighbors between March of 2011 and March of 2014.

FOX Carolina talked to a representative with the Spartanburg Housing Authority. He said he couldn't comment on the issue.

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