A man says a text message sent to him by mistake proves the owners of several apartment complexes were ready to use his race as a reason not to rent to him.
Prentiss Sumler told Channel 2’s Tom Jones when he looked at his phone and saw the text it took him a second to realize he was the target of racial discrimination.
“I saw the message said, ‘I think they’re black trouble,’” Sumler said.
Sumler says it’s clear the text message meant the company would deny him an apartment because of his race.
“Anybody sees that would automatically think that she saying that I’m trouble because I’m black,” Sumler said.
His attorney says his rights were violated.
“And to be be denied a basic necessity based on your race is what we believe is an absolute violation of his civil rights,” attorney Bryce Angell said.
It all began when Sumler called A-1 Apartments USA and asked about renting a unit in Calhoun.
The company owns several complexes in the Dalton Calhoun area.
Sumler says a woman told him she would text him a link so he could fill out an application.
He says he then got this text by accident: “I think they’re black … Trouble.’”
“Before I could even compose myself I stopped to, like, (think) what just happened,” Sumler said.
Sumler quickly responded.
“Am I missing something with this last comment,” Sumler said.
He got a text back.
It said: “You will be interacting with me. The other person has been suspended and faces additional discipline.”
Jones called the company and when he asked about Prentiss Sumler the manager said, “That’s a little bit above my grade but I can have someone call you back.’”
Sumler says he can’t believe this happened in 2015.
“ I want them to know the way they are is wrong.” Sumler said.
Jones never heard back from A-1 Apartments USA.
Sumler is pursuing legal action.
He said he stopped the application process after the offensive text.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW