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updated: 3/11/2014 5:45 AM

Mount Prospect family files racial harassment suit against neighbor

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A Mount Prospect family is suing a neighbor, accusing her of repeated incidents of racially motivated harassment over the past five years.

The lawyer for Iris Howe and her family, who are black, said the neighbor's verbal attacks began the day they arrived in Mount Prospect from the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago.

"'Hey look, N-words are moving into the neighborhood,'" Howe's lawyer, William Kraus, said the defendant announced when the family moved in.

The defendant hung up Monday when asked for comment on the allegations.

The suit, filed Monday in Cook County circuit court, details the family's accusations against the woman, including allegations she routinely followed Howe's teenage children in her car as they walked home from school and shouted obscenities and racial slurs at them.

On one occasion, the suit alleges, the defendant drove past the Howe children as they walked in their neighborhood, which has no sidewalks, made a U-turn and sped up just behind them. Fearing for their safety, the teens moved off the street and heard the defendant yell a racial slur at them, the suit alleges.

The suit also alleges the defendant threatened to run over the Howe family dog, attempted to provoke physical altercations with the Howe children, made a false police report against one of the Howe children, and would prevent her grandchildren from swimming in their neighborhood association's community pool if she saw the Howe children there.

"This has been a consistent and concerted effort to drive this family from the neighborhood," Kraus said.

The suit seeks a restraining order against the defendant and damages exceeding $50,000.

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