A man from Florida is going to prison after threatening a Muslim family not to move into the neighborhood he lived in.
According to the Washington Post, David H. Howard of Tampa Bay, Florida, was sentenced to eight months in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to a violation of the Federal Housing Act. The Federal Housing Act is a civil rights law that prohibits threatening or interfering with someone’s housing rights due to race or religion.
Howard’s sentencing comes from an incident that happened in 2016 where he verbally attacked a Muslim family that was planning to move into a home near his. The victim, Kaderbhai Ali Asgar, who moved to the U.S. from India with his wife, arrived at the house they planned to purchase in 2016 for a final walkthrough. Asgar was wearing a topi, a religious cap, and his wife and mother-in-law were wearing headscarves.
Their looks made Howard yell at the family, shouting “this sale will not take place,” according to court documents obtained by the Post. “I will break all of your f–king windows and I will burn your f–king house down!”
Court documents also show that Howard later made insulting statements about Muslims and asked a mover if he was moving the “dotheads.”
The Post further wrote that the family canceled their purchase because they no longer felt safe. Howard was ordered to pay $30,000 of restitution to Asgar in addition to his sentence. The restitution fee is for the deposit that Asgar and his family lost when they canceled the closing on the home.
Asgar has also filed a civil lawsuit against Howard in addition to another neighbor.
“Crimes perpetrated against people because of who they are or what they believe simply cannot be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez said in a statement to the Post.