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Wintersville woman speaks out on racially motivated attacks

A Wintersville mother is sharing details about a neighbor dispute that lasted nearly two years.

A Wintersville mother is sharing details about a neighbor dispute that lasted nearly two years.

The mother of three says the attacks and intimidation were racially motivated.

Amber West has been frustrated and fearful for her family's safety. She obtained a protection from abuse order in October, but action against her neighbor only happened recently.

“It all stemmed from parking,” she said.

Amber's neighbors, a middle-aged white man and his family, started verbal altercations over parking spaces. Racial slurs were lobbed. Then it got worse when Amber's three kids played basketball.

"And the basketball bounced off and hit his vehicle,” Amber said. “He came outside and said he was going to shoot all of us, meaning me and my children."

Amber says she documented the incidents with her property manager.

"Anything that would occur, I would go to the office and nothing would happen," she said.

Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies took reports of spray painted cars and thrown debris. Then it got even more personal.

"He told his daughter to come and fight me, and we got into an altercation, a fight," Amber said.

Magistrate Judge Adrian Hershey reviewed evidence, including the latest incident -- a smashed window -- and issued a Protection from Abuse in October. But the alleged abuser is her neighbor. The abuse continued.

"It's just been a rough experience,” Amber said. “I've went to several different people, several different times to get help with this situation."

Amber asked her pastor for help.

"When she came to the church originally she was very distraught," said Pastor Marvin Barner, Second Baptist Church.

"I was trying to get help because I felt like we were in danger," Amber said.

"I advised her to involve as many people as she can,” Barner said. “Not only for her aspect, but we're dealing with children here"

After multiple people called the sheriff's department on her behalf, a 30-day eviction notice was served to the neighbor on Dec. 5.

"There was probable cause and everything that he has been doing has been written up on paper. So they thought everything built up to give him an eviction," Amber said.

She has lived in her Wintersville home for 3 years.

"Nothing I could do but move,” she said. “And I thought this was the best area for me and my children."

"I'm happy with the eviction, but I'm still afraid because he knows exactly where we live."

Amber is taking steps to protect her family.

"I have a camera outside my home, and I'm also trying to go to a class where they train you so that one day you can be armed with a weapon," Amber said.

She’s also using the ordeal to educate her kids.

"I explain to them that God has made every color. We are all equal, that you can't treat ignorance with ignorance and you just have to pray for people who are very ignorant," West said.

The deadline for the neighbor to leave is Jan. 14. While he was given the eviction notice, there have been no charges filed related to incidents in this case.

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