First, Anthony Limon suffered the death of his best friend, Tony “Terrell” Robinson, at the hands of Madison, Wisconsin, police. That shook the young man so badly that he has not been able to return to work, still “traumatized,” his friends say, by the shooting death of Robinson in the apartment they were temporarily sharing.
The killing of Tony Robinson, an unarmed African-American teen, gained immediate national attention and was compared by Madison’s own police chief to the Ferguson, Missouri, killing of Michael Brown last year.
Limon and his brother, neither of whom were present at the 1125 Williamson Street apartment when the unarmed Robinson was shot multiple times after allegedly struggling with a police officer who chased him into the home and forced his way in, were questioned at length by police without being allowed to have a lawyer present — which didn’t do much good for Limon’s emotional state after the tragedy.
But less than two weeks after Tony Robinson’s body was hauled away from the porch area of the apartment, Limon’s landlord sent him a letter that made the situation even worse.
In the letter, seen in the image above, landlord Ray Peterson demands that Limon and his mother, who is on the apartment’s lease as well — pay back the nearly $1,200 it cost to clean up their dead friend’s blood.
The letter is dated March 24. Limon’s rent of $750 was due just three days earlier — but Peterson demands that he pay that sum immediately as well or face eviction. In fact, Peterson slapped a $10 late fee on to the $750 rent as well.
But the landlord did cut Limon one break. He credited the tenant 63 cents for overpaying February’s rent.
In fact, even though Limon says that he plans to move out of the apartment anyway — a perfectly understandable decision given what happened there — Peterson warns him in the letter that he is still responsible for paying for the “bio hazard” cleanup.
Finding the letter at least a little insensitive, a local Madison radio program, Devil’s Advocates Radio, tracked down the landlord to make sure the letter was for real, and that Peterson really intended to make Limon pay $1,192.25 to clean up his friend’s blood.
The actual cleanup was carried out by a contractor, but Peterson did not say who.
“Yes, I do think it is an appropriate legal charge,” Peterson told the radio show, confirming that he sent the letter and meant every word.
The political news site Think Progress followed up, also interviewing the landlord. Peterson told Think Progress that he sent the letter because he was careful about discrimination.
“If we gave them special privileges, it could be a real discrimination problem,” Peterson told the site. “In order to stay in business we have to treat the laws equally and all lessees equally.”
But a local tenant’s rights advocate, Brenda Konkel of Madison’s Tenants Resource Center, said that the landlord is full of it.
“There is no law like that,” she said, explaining that discrimination would be a possibility only if another tenant also had a bloody killing take place in the building, and Peterson treated that tenant differently from Limon.
Informed that Anthony Limon had already decided to move out, Peterson told the site he found that prospect “delightful.”
[Image via Devil’s Advocates Radio]