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Katrina survivor presses charges against neighbor

Posted July 7, 2010

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— After losing everything in Hurricane Katrina, Janice Cargo, 60, relocated to North Carolina. Since 2006, she has lived in a public housing complex outside Lumberton.

“I asked the Lord for a safe haven and peace and this is a safe haven. He gave me this apartment,” Cargo said Wednesday.

But Cargo said a flood of harassment and racial slurs quickly rose from her downstairs neighbor, Shirley Miller. Cargo said she has statements from a half-dozen neighbors to back her up.

“I feel like I stepped out of one disaster and into another,” Cargo said.

Cargo said Miller became so hostile, her daughter was afraid to bring her grandchild back for a visit.

“He don’t know me. He don’t know grandma,” Cargo said.

The alleged harassment reached its peak in 2008 when Cargo said Miller pointed a handgun at her.

Cargo said she took her complaints to the Robeson County Housing Authority. “They were either handed back to me, ignored, brushed off, or the hand was in the face,” she said.

Lumberton woman presses charges against neighbor Lumberton woman presses charges against neighbor

On Wednesday, Miller, 71, was packing up her belongings after being served with an eviction notice. She admits to having a gun because she worries about crime in the area.

“I don’t threaten anybody with anything,” Miller said.

Miller denies making any racial slurs. “If I was black or any other color, I wouldn’t want anyone to slur my name,” she said.

Miller said she has lived in the complex on Oxendine Circle for 26 years in “total peace and harmony” before noise problems started with her upstairs neighbor.

“It sounded like two horses and a wagon up there,” Miller said.

Ronald Oxendine, the director of the Robeson County Housing Authority, said neighbor complaints contributed to Miller’s eviction. He said several witnesses came forward to report her actions over the years.

Oxendine has been housing director since September and declined to comment about the previous administration’s handling of complaints. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into how the county handled the case.

Another factor Miller’s eviction was her possession of a firearm, which is against federal housing policy, Oxendine said. The housing authority confiscated Miller’s .38 caliber gun.

Cargo has pressed misdemeanor charges of racial intimidation against Miller. A court hearing is scheduled Friday.

With the departure of her neighbor, Cargo said she feels some relief. “Day by day, I have to tell myself that it’s over,” she said.


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  • cwarwick2143 Jul 8, 2010

    There are two sides to every story. Until I receive facts about situations, I will not voice an opinion. But what I will say though, is that I think there are far more going on in this world than an argument between two grown women!!

  • didisaythat Jul 8, 2010

    So Weetie, how does the public housing pay for the things when the rent is so low. The TAXPAYERS. I love it when people try and discredit a statement and give a for instance that is not the norm.

  • jockeyshiftspringer Jul 8, 2010

    Geez people, go take some Midol or something. Give it a rest.

  • tarheel4life Jul 8, 2010

    "tarhell4life: This will be my last comment to you."

    Now wait a second, you already said that once; why should I believe you this time?

    " I did not say that I possessed the expertise that you were ignoring, did I"

    Which is why I asked *who* you were referring to when you said that we're ignoring peoples' expertise, and you have still not answered that question. In fact *you* were the only poster that mentioned their 'expertise' (repeatedly, in counseling), so I could only assume you were talking about yourself. If you were referring to someone else please let me know who.

    " Fourth, you have criticized all who disagreed with you, not only me."

    I haven't criticized any person...I criticized weak arguments and rampant speculation. I'm sorry that you can't see the difference.

    ". She conviced others to come forward with untrue claims."

    I'm sure that's exactly what happened. Great detective work there.

  • mountainlover Jul 8, 2010

    tarhell4life: This will be my last comment to you. First, I am so glad that I was able to give you a laugh. We all need that, don't we. Second, you are doing some speculating. I did not say that I possessed the expertise that you were ignoring, did I? But now that you mentioned it, I will say something. I have not stated what my profession is; therefore, for all you know, I am a social worker. Third, a person CAN be white and hold a prejudice against certain individuals who also are white. This type of white person holds a prejudice against other whites who critically evaluate a situation in which another race accuses a white. In that evaluation the white person cannot be depended on to "take the side of the other race." There are whites who do not like other whites who see the world in this manner; they dislike whites who do not buy into that "whites always abuse other races" mentality. Fourth, you have criticized all who disagreed with you, not only me.

  • barnzez Jul 8, 2010

    tarheel4life, you have been on this site all morning...hope the rest of your day is more productive.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Jul 8, 2010

    Katrina "victims" are 5 years old now, 30 years from now they'll still be "victims" and still get coddled. I do believe that Cargo is the racist. If the neighbors had not complained in 26 about the accused why would it be suddenly there are problems. She conviced others to come forward with untrue claims. It's pretty obvious by the way she acts the drama queen about it.

  • tarheel4life Jul 8, 2010

    "But call anyone who is trained in counseling, police work, or criminal investigation and that person is going to tell you that the person did not FIRST use a gun."

    I really don't know why you're clinging to this argument. It doesn't matter what she did or did not do first. It matters that she did use a gun, and that the other residents complained about her. It's as simple as that.

  • tarheel4life Jul 8, 2010

    "Who says the public housing is free? Who says she doesn't have a job? Why isn't the lady who'd been living there for 26 being attacked for not having a job or wasting tax-payers money? Who says the other lady is being charged for simply owning a gun? (it says she pulled the gun on the other lady).

    I'm sorry, I'll be attacked, but a lot of these comments are racist, pure and simple. NO denying it. Not all of the comments, but a lot of them."


    But it's WRAL GOLO, so what do you expect.

  • tarheel4life Jul 8, 2010

    "It does not matter to you what anyone else's expertise on an issue may be"

    Do what? Who has brought expertise to the situation here? You think your experience as a counselor really gives you a position to speak with authority on this situation? Sorry bud, but that's not the case. Sure if this article was about social worker practices then your 'expertise' would matter. Here, not so much.

    "...criticizing the comments of all who disagree with you. I think I know why; prejudice against whites is just as bad as the other way around. It solves nothing."

    Haha that's got to be my favorite comment of the day. I am very much a white person...and I can assure you, I am not prejudice against my own race. You've got me rolling here, so I have to thank you for that :)