Black Lives Matter flag leads to eviction

Burton says a vice president with the company came to his apartment and took the flag off of the balcony. (Photo courtesy: HOI/ABC)

By Heart of Illinois ABC

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington Resident Donavon Burton says he was handed an eviction notice from his landlord, First Site, after refusing to take down a Black Lives Matter flag he had hung from his balcony.

Burton originally hung the flag in early June, following the killing of George Floyd.

“It was scary to see all the videos out there of people being treated unfairly and so we just wanted to advocate anyway we can,” said Burton.

By June 25, First Site management took notice. Burton says a vice president with the company came to his apartment and took the flag off of the balcony.

Management told him it was policy, adding that it had nothing to do with what the flag said. Not long after it was taken down, Burton put it right back. On June 29, Burton was given an eviction notice. The document said Burton’s lease would be terminated in 10 days because of a balcony/patio rule in his lease.

“I’ve been homeless before, so it’s terrifying now that I have a young child to take care of, and my fiancee,” said Burton.

The rule cited in the notice prohibits any personal items from being kept on balconies. But from what Burton can tell, this is the first time he has seen such a rule be enforced.

“It’s been commonplace for people to keep patio and balcony furniture on their balcony…they just chose to enforce the rule when they found something they didn’t agree with,” he said.

Heart of Illinois ABC has reached out to First Site several times, both over email and phone.

Heart of Illinois ABC can be reached at News@WJBC.com. 

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