An Alabama woman was sentenced to a year behind bars after prosecutors say she violated her Black neighbor’s civil rights.
In 2019, according to the Department of Justice, 64-year-old- Cheryl Lynn Pytleski displayed “racially offensive homemade dolls” on the neighbor’s fence to intimidate the neighbor and force them to move out of the neighborhood.
Prosecutors said that Pytleski admitted to targeting the neighbors due to their race. She pleaded guilty to a criminal violation of the Fair Housing Act in March. She was handed down her 12-month sentence on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
“A person violates the Fair Housing Act if he or she uses force, or threatens the use of force, to willfully injure, intimidate, or interfere with, any person because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, who is or has been engaged in the selling, purchasing, renting, financing, occupying, or contracting or negotiating for the sale, purchase, rental, financing, or occupation of any dwelling,” the DOJ said in a press release.
As WDHN reported in 2019, the incident happened in Ozark, Alabama, about 86 miles from Montgomery. Photos obtained by the outlet show the words “Boo Hoo” and “KKK” painted on the dolls.
“It don’t take a genius to see a black doll, with a rope around its neck, hanging from a post or a tree with KKK,” one resident told WDHN at the time.
Pytleski reportedly tied the dolls in a way that made it difficult for them to be removed. Reports show the dolls were displayed for several weeks before they could be completely taken down.
Herring said she then put up a display with a “cry baby on it” after the police ordered that the racist dolls be removed.
Recently, in a separate incident, residents in a Montgomery neighborhood said their property was vandalized with racial slurs and swastikas.