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Group calls for Department of Justice Investigation into Red Cross ZIP code policy

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 07:14:16-05

A Milwaukee group is asking the US Department of Justice to look into the Red Cross' recent short-lived ZIP code policy on house fire responses.

They're doing it after a local family says the Red Cross refused them service because of where they lived. 

Latressa Turner says after her house on 21st Street and Concordia Avenue was destroyed by fire on Dec. 28, she went to the local police station and then directly to the Red Cross for help.

"When I walked in and told them my name with my information and they told me the zip code they could not help us," Turner said. 

Community activist Tory Lowe and Attorney Walter Stern have sent a letter to the DOJ asking the nation's top law enforcement office to look into possible rights violations. Lowe says because the Red Cross receives federal funding, not distributing it to everyone regardless of race or birthplace is discrimination. 

Red Cross Chapter Executive and Regional CEO for Wisconsin Patty Flowers says that six families connected to the fire on 21st and Concordia that requested assistance received it. She could not go into more detail for confidentiality reasons. 

On its Facebook page, the Red Cross says the Turner family was provided with several hundred dollars of assistance on the 28. It also stated that it does not use federal funds for fire support.

The DOJ has not yet responded to the request.