(Updated with statement from neighbors)
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – A Fairview Heights couple says their next-door neighbors are harassing them and they've taken the battle public on social media.
The couple believes their neighbor is targeting them because they are black. And while they have no proof to confirm the racism, what they do have is more than four dozen police calls – all of them unfounded.
Mario O'Neil and Jasmine Duschnowski moved into their Fairview Heights home last July. They say they love the home so much that they have talked about buying it. But 10 days after moving in, they had an unusual visit.
“And we had our first interaction with the police department and they said there was a music complaint coming from our home,” O'Neil said.
Fairview Heights police found no proof in the report.
A week later, their leasing company called to say they had received multiple complaints about their yard, parking, and noise. The leasing company demanded an inspection.
Mario and Jasmine say police also kept showing up for months.
“We had three family events and at every family event the police were called,” O'Neil said.
The couple didn’t know what to think.
Finally, on January 24, police told them their next-door neighbor was the person continually calling in complaints. Mario says the officer told him the neighbor was "obsessed with them."
“(The officer) also informed us of a Facebook page that our neighbor had put up slandering us and he just wanted to see if there was anything they could do to help us get the situation to go away,” Duschnowski said.
Mario and Jasmine saw pictures of their house on that Facebook page, along with accusations that they were loud, had 20 people living in the house, and were selling drugs and sex.
The couple eventually learned there were 52 documented calls and reports through January 29. They went to Facebook to defend their family.
“The reason we had to go to social media is because we reached out to many lawyers to handle this, we reached out to the NAACP, and we were asking for someone to help us stop this,” O'Neil said.
Fox 2 attempted to speak with Mario and Jasmine’s neighbor. She refused to answer the door, even though she had just received a package from a delivery driver.
After Fox 2's original story aired, the neighboring family released the following statement:
“We are very saddened that an unfortunate civil dispute between neighbors has become a public spectacle. Admittedly, part of this is our own fault and our family has made repeated personal attempts to apologize for actions taken and words used that were unfair and irresponsible. We hope that we can peaceably settle our disputes and find common ground so that we all can continue to enjoy our neighborhood for what it has always been and continues to be – a wonderful place with a diverse group of families who care for one another.”
No charges have been filed in the dispute.