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Persistent Harassment by Neighbor

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by Eric Buss, Sep 2, 2019.

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  1. Eric Buss

    Eric Buss Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My wife, children, mother-in-law and myself have been enduring verbal abuse and harrassment from renters next door for the past 4 months. The neighbor has been told to leave our property on multiple occasions (yes we have signs posted) including a formal trespass by law enforcement. 2 days ago, a verbal altercation ensued between the neighbor, myself and my wife. He was walking his dig on the "city property" strip along the street in front of our house. I let him know I wasn't going to tolerate him having his dog relieve itself in the yard I take care of. He refused to leave.

    At this point, I went to the "city property" strip in front of his home to make the point I could do the same. Feeling foolish and realizing that the confrontation between him and my wife was getting heated, I decided to rejoin the argument. As I began to return the 20' distance, he yelled at my wife: "You F****** C***, now I'm on your property." He charged toward her location and I intercepted him by tackling him (lacerating my chin and receiving abrasions to my right arm). We wrestled until we rolled across the sidewalk and into the "city property" strip. I was able to subdue him in a headlock (making sure I was not choking him). His wife punched me 2 times in the face, at which time my mother-in-law came to my aid. They, too, began wrestling each other. His wife bit my mother-in-law, drawing blood, and would not let go.

    We both released the neighbor and his wife only after the police arrived. My neighbor got to his feet and in the presence of 3 officers, told me "this is not F****** over" 2x. All parties involved (with the exception of my wife) have now been served charges of Disorderly Conduct. He was "conveniently" not served for the Second Trespass in spite of the fact that he admitted to the police that he came on our property toward my wife.

    We have had to order a survey to satisfy law enforcement that the boundary is clearly marked. The full boundary sample that is considered admissible in court will cost $800. We have had to purchase multiple surveillance cameras and numerous SD Cards to capture the ridiculous levels of escalation. We have bought building materials to block their view/access to our children. I am now losing holiday pay from my employer as I have a court date that will cause me to be late for work tomorrow in addition to the hours of pay I will lose coming in late and point I will be assessed. I had to have $350 in bail to get me out of jail for the disorderly conduct charge. Also, if I cannot get this charge dropped, I will have a criminal record and ensuing court costs and fees to be determined.

    It should be noted here that we do not initiate contact with the neighbors, it is they who do so on every occasion that is until the event described above. We have never set foot on their property. Aside from watching them closely for signs of threats, we try to avoid them. They use the pretense of items "accidentally" coming over on our property, speak vulgarly to my wife and children. On more than one occasion, they have sprayed chemicals on my wife's flowers attempting to kill them off. They have been granted permission by the property owner of a vacant adjacent lot so they have broader access to property. They shout obscenities and threats at us even when we have taken the cop's advice and remained inside our home to avoid contact.

    We have called the police over 20 times in the ensuing 4 months. Admittedly my wife has a bit of a hair trigger calling them as most the instances have been unenforcible complaints (but not all). The first time I called the police was when he intentionally came on my property after I confronted him about it. He demonstrate his disregard for my demand that he get out of my yard by jumping further into it and shouting: "I'm in your F****** yard now and there's nothing you can do about it. You gonna call the cops? They won't do anything about either." I called and he was right. They did nothing about it.

    We have each episode on surveillance camera footage. The police have no desire to watch it as we have offered many times. The police have made no effort to resolve this. In fact they treat us as if we are being immature or should handle things in a different way.

    I want to know if there is a case for a lawsuit. Can a case be made against the police for complicity? They have recommended that we move in spite of the fact that we are buying our home and the neighbors are renting. Clear criminal violations have occurred frequently but the police have avoided addressing the violations, rather, they ask us to change how we react to them. I just want this to stop. My wife, who he makes contact with most often since I work 10 hours a day, is mentally exhausted and worries that she will have to deal with harassment every time she goes outside. I barely make enough money to get by so I can't afford to keep spending on preemptive measures. I don't have enough for a protective order at this point. We don't even like leaving our house unattended for concern over our property. I am at my wit's end.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Ignore them, they'll eventually go away.

    This is the old stimulus, response theory form Pysch101.

    Don't allow others to ruin your life.

    Your best bet is to call the police if someone is breaking any law or disturbing the peace.

    Never take the law into your own hands, that is why society employs law enforcement officers to preserve the peace and protect the public.


    You must decide if you want to file a lawsuit.

    I doubt it.


    You are always free to relocate, if you believe your family's safety is being jeopardized.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Nothing reasonable comes to mind. Your best option is probably to ignore them.

    No. That isn't even worth thinking about.

    That likely is the best option. Police do have discretion when enforcing laws. They likely see this as a silly neighbor dispute and want the neighbors to resolve it civilly.

    If you feel you need a protective order but can't afford the cost, ask about a fee waiver. If you are low income it shouldn't cost you a dime.

    Good fences make good neighbors. Build one once that survey is done.
     
    Red Kayak and justblue like this.
  4. Eric Buss

    Eric Buss Law Topic Starter New Member

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    To those who advocate ignoring them:

    Uh..no. Owning property is a right in our country. Protecting property is a right. Rolling over and letting people walk all over you is not something I'm willing to do. Nor am I willing to move.
    I really expected a better assessment here than "run and hide" from those who violated your rights.
    I have been in one fight in my entire adult life and this was it. I am not aggressive or confrontational as a rule nor do I want to be. Some people must not believe in fighting for anything...
    I'll see my way out.
     
  5. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Per what you have written here...You all should be ashamed. You are setting a poor example for your children...frankly you are really lucky to only get a disturbing the peace charge. In the long post you never once mentioned calling the neighbors LL and complaining about the neighbors actions. That should have been the first step and had you done so the LL may have evicted the problem tenant.
     
  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    With your attitude your petty dispute is going to end badly. Stop it before someone, perhaps one of your children, ends up hurt...or killed.
    The police officer is correct. You can't control your neighbor but you can control your reaction to him. Stop engaging and eventually the neighbor will get bored.
     
  7. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Well-Known Member

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    Uh... No. You have not been effectively protecting your property. You and your wife have been engaging in juvenile behavior.

    You have created your current legal problems. You stooped to your neighbors' level, and fell a bit lower.

    Advice: Do not engage or physically confront the neighbors.

    You have your footage. You have your records. You can communicate in writing, with a cc to the landlord incidents as they occurred with a request that the trespassing desist, and file police reports.

    You can consult a lawyer and find out whether your wife can reasonably ask for a restraining order.

    You, however, have put yourself in a position where your neighbor might reasonably, just for fun, counter that he needs a restraining order from you.
     
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  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    You really have not given a reasonable example of a violation of rights. What you describe is a neighbor quarrel.

    Exactly how has your property been endangered? Is this really about dog poo?
     
  9. shadowbunny

    shadowbunny Member

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    Your wife is adding the fuel to the fire -- she needs to get a grip before you both find yourselves the subject of a restraining order. It's no wonder the neighbor is annoyed if their crazy neighbor has called the police 20+ times for no good reason. She should be ashamed of herself.
     
  10. Eric Buss

    Eric Buss Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have no way of contacting the landlord. I did, however, attempt to appeal to his cousin, the city code enforcer, with concerns about what his tenants were doing to his property.
    I also attempted to have a survey done but the guy I retained to do the survey is the same guy who does the city's survey work. Explains why he failed to finish the job in the last two months.
    When the neighbor tells me to call the cops because they won't do anything is proven to be correct (in spite of the fact that said neighbor is standing 10 feet in your yard to illustrate his disregard for your property), at what point do I consider he might be a somebody to somebody important.

    You think what the kids are going through is a shame?
    How about having a neighbor willing to strip his 4 year old naked in front of your daughter so he can claim she's a pervert?

    You don't even know!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  11. Eric Buss

    Eric Buss Law Topic Starter New Member

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    You tell me how to stop someone from bringing physical harm to your wife after that someone has already threatened to do so. Restraining orders are bunk until the police arrive. When he moves across the boundary of your property to do so, are you being childish to prevent him from following through?
    My attitude on this subject is personal because it has been going on for 4 months. It took two days for me to stop shaking over this. I have not been in one fight in my 23 years of adulthood. Your wife is nearly in tears when you get home from work because of what she has to put up with from the neighbors.
    You guys would just stand by and let her get beat just so the cops have to something.
    I defended my wife on my property. Words are one thing. Crossing the line into criminal trespassing and threat of bodily harm is quite another.
    Your sesame street assessment is just what I would expect from a country ruled by Donald Trump.
    Of course, tolerance is the way forward. Just be understanding, right? It'll all blow over.
    Anyone is welcome to provide a legal reason why I was at fault for taking down the guy who, in violation of a previous trespass warning by law enforcement, was 2 feet from my wife when I intercepted him. Otherwise take you empathetic philosophy and apply it to those who are actually dealing with unhinged violators who feel society owes the right to do what they want.
    This is called the law .com not my opinion .com.
    Good talk.
     
  12. Eric Buss

    Eric Buss Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Previous threats of harm to my wife and home have been made. These were ignored, hoping they would blow over. It is not about the dog. It is about his blatant attempts to prove he can do what ever he wants. Illustrated by his quote:
    "I'm gonna come on your property and there's nothing you can f****** do about it."
    That was 3 months ago. Since then he was formally trespassed. He has done so on three different occasions. One of which is when he charged at my wife.
    Property is important to those who have not had their own in 15 years. Declaring to the neighbor that he and his "stuff" is not welcome on your side of a property line should not be construed as a challenge but a boundary...at least to a reasonable person.
     
  13. sandyeggo

    sandyeggo Member

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    You don't want him on your property, build a fence.
     
  14. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Well-Known Member

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    The property is owned by someone, and that someone pays property taxes. The city knows where to send the tax bill. You can send your certified letters to the same address.

    I am sorry that you feel that my advice that you properly document the incidents and file police reports, and have a legal paper trail, rather than in person confrontations, is an affront to your masculinity.

    As to your comment about restraining orders: one of the things a restraining order achieves is that it documents who has a problem with whom. It makes it easier to sort out who's the problem.

    Your wife needs therapy and a course in self defense. Perhaps she also needs a hobby that takes her out of the home.
     
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