Illinois man given eviction notice for refusing to take down Black Lives Matter flag

Donavon Burton says he hung the flag for his son: "Thinking about him growing up in a world where there is so much injustice scares me."

Associated Press
July 08, 2020 - 9:38 am

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP/KMOX) — A central Illinois man said he’s facing eviction for hanging a Black Lives Matter flag on his apartment balcony.

Donavon Burton, 22, of Bloomington said he began displaying the flag last month to protest the deaths of Blacks in police custody.

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“It’s for my first son,” Burton told The Pantagraph. “Thinking about him growing up in a world where there is so much injustice scares me.”

On June 29, Burton received an eviction notice from First Site Apartments for not removing the flag. The notice kicks off a legal process that can last weeks. He lives with his son and fiancee.

“First Site supports an individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression,” said Ulises Napoles, a vice president. “However, First Site has a policy restricting personal items, regardless of content, including banners and flags, from being located on, or hanging from, balconies.”

Related: Missouri woman apologizes for waving Confederate flag, shouting 'KKK belief' at Black Lives Matter protesters

Burton was “reminded that hanging items from the balcony was a lease violation, and was instructed on multiple occasions to remove personal property items from his balcony,” Napoles told the newspaper.

Burton said an apartment employee removed the flag, but he put it back up. He said other residents continue to store things on their balconies, including grills.

Burton has filed discriminatory complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, reports WMBD.

According to the notice he is supposed to be evicted on Thursday, but his lawyer tell WMBD they are willing to fight that.