‘I’ll die, I’ll die’ | Cancer-stricken woman tased, evicted from Sandy Springs home

Metro Atlanta continues to lack affordable housing, rental assistance for those hit hard by pandemic
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2022 at 7:13 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A Sandy Springs mother suffering from stage IV cancer was recently evicted from her home after being tased by Fulton County marshals, bringing new attention to metro Atlanta’s lack of affordable housing and pandemic rental assistance.

“I was in survival mode,” Christina McKinney, a former home care worker, said. “The only thing I could think was staying safe.”

Medical documents reviewed by CBS46 Investigates confirm McKinney was diagnosed with cancer in May 2020. McKinney said her two-bed, two-bath apartment used to cost about $1,500, and she was getting financial assistance. Three similar floor plans are now listed on the complex’s website at about $3,000 a month. (CBS46 is not identifying the apartment complex.)

McKinney admitted she fell behind on payments for more than a year during the pandemic. An eviction notice was filed and on May 24, the Fulton County Marshal’s office executed it.

Body camera footage obtained by CBS46 Investigates revealed law enforcement waited more than 35 minutes for McKinney to come out after knocking on her door and windows, calling out her name, and identifying why they were there.

Eventually, property staff kicked in the door so marshals would not be responsible for any damage. McKinney can be heard screaming and crying, along with her teenage daughter.

McKinney appears to lay on the ground crying, attempting to slide away, and not following commands. Marshals can be heard saying, “last chance, get your hands up, ma’am, please.” They ask for her to be still, and warned she’d be tased.

“I’ll die, I’ll die,” McKinney screamed. “I have stage IV cancer.”

When asked why she didn’t answer her door, McKinney said she was weak and equally “afraid” of the officers and of the prospect of being homeless.

After she was tased, McKinney was treated by emergency medical personnel who arrived on scene.

McKinney’s belongings are packed into storage unit about 15 minutes away from the medical facility where she is being treated. She has been staying temporarily at a friend’s home.

New attention is being focused metro Atlanta’s lack of affordable housing and pandemic rental...
New attention is being focused metro Atlanta’s lack of affordable housing and pandemic rental assistance.(WGCL)

“It’s been awful,” she said. “I’ve been having to go to treatments, several different days and my health has been very, very degenerated.” McKinney said her citation for obstruction is set to be dismissed.

“People are desperate,” said Daniel Pasciuti, a Georgia State University sociology professor who also is a leader at the school’s Center for Access to Justice. “They’re looking for help. Rents are rising very rapidly in Georgia, especially in metro Atlanta.”

“Anywhere from 60 to 65 percent” of evictions are millennials and young families, Pasciuti said, while the remaining tend to be disabled and sick people on fixed incomes.

According to a national study, Georgia ranks fifth highest among states for renters falling behind on payments.

Statewide, there’s a shortage of about 200,000 affordable rentals, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Pascuiti said too few legal tenant safeguards and financial resources remain, and metro Atlanta’s growth will consistently drive rental costs up, pushing out the most vulnerable.

CBS46 reached out to the Fulton County Marshal’s Office but received no response.

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