Philadelphia woman shot during eviction
Incident raises questions on system city uses to remove renters
An eviction in Philadelphia turned violent last week when a landlord-tenant officer shot a woman in the head, raising concerns about how the city’s court system sometimes ejects renters by using a security detail that isn’t sworn law-enforcement personnel, the Inquirer reported.
The shooting took place at Girard Court Apartments when a 35-year-old woman engaged in a struggle with the landlord-tenant officer, who was serving an eviction notice on the woman and her husband.
The woman, who was allegedly holding a knife during the struggle before she was shot, was taken to an area hospital and listed in critical condition, the outlet reported.
The eviction arose after the landlord, who claimed the tenants owed more than $8,000, reached a settlement with the woman and her husband to move out by January in exchange for the unpaid rent being forgiven.
The tenants sought to postpone the eviction, but a judge ruled against them last month.
The shooting raises questions about how Philadelphia handles evictions, namely through the use of a landlord-tenant officer, a private attorney who is appointed by a judge.
The attorney then deputizes private security contractors who are paid to handle the on-site evictions. While it’s the first shooting involving a landlord-tenant officer in recent memory, questions have arisen over their oversight and how they are trained, the Inquirer reported.
“The majority of Philadelphians facing eviction are Black and Brown people, who are frequently viewed as threats in their own home, when private citizens operating as officers show up with little to no notice to evict them,” Community Legal Services said in a statement to the Inquirer.
The group called the use of a private attorney a “pay to play” system, the Inquirer said, incentivizing evictions of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Police, who did not name the landlord-tenant officer or the victim, are investigating the shooting.
— Ted Glanzer