A Missouri city is fining homeowners to raise revenue, mostly targeting black residents

A small suburb of St. Louis where 95 percent of residents are black has allegedly found a new source of revenue by increasing municipal citations by 495 percent since 2010, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

The Institute for Justice’s office filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status this week against the city of Pagedale, near infamous Ferguson.

The lawsuit accuses the city of “an unprecedented governmental intrusion into the homes of its residents” for issuing tickets for things like barbecuing in the front yard, drinking beer too close to the grill and even saggy pants.

In some cases, residents said that Pagedale officials threatened to demolish their homes, even though the city admitted that the homes were only a nuisance and presented no public safety threat.

Some residents are now trapped in a cycle of debt to high-interest payday lenders because of the exorbitant fines and fees.

Read on: Lawsuit Accuses Missouri City of Fining Homeowners to Raise Revenue – The New York Times