Occupy Homes MN to Rally against Third Eviction Attempt of Cruz Home
Occupy Homes MN is continuing their effort to defend the Cruz family's home after the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) launched the third eviction attempt in less than a week Tuesday, arresting two protesters and a neighbor who was observing the eviction.
A 1:00pm press conference will be held at City Hall Wednesday to denounce the police raid ordered by Mayor RT Rybak and demand that police leave the home in peace while the Cruz family continues their active negotiations with the bank. At 7:00pm protesters will return to the Cruz home.
Around 4:00pm, nearly 40 police officers surrounded the home, blocked off Cedar Avenue between East 40th Street and East 41st Street, and spent over an hour removing and arresting a protester who had locked himself to a concrete barrel inside the home while over 100 protestors gathered to defend the home.
When the protesters locked arms to try to non-violently reclaim the home, they were faced with violence from the police. Officers choked protesters by pushing against their throats, and sexually assaulted three female protesters grabbing their chests repeatedly despite their vocal complaints. Officer Lehner, who is currently being sued for destroying a KSTP camera at an Occupy protest in April, was photographed pepper spraying peaceful protesters.
After firefighters boarded up the home, demonstrators marched down Hiawatha Avenue occupying the highway between East 38th Street and Lake Avenue en route to the MPD 3rd Precinct to protest the raid.
Protesters took over the intersection of Lake and Minnehaha outside the MPD 3rd Precinct until an announcement was made that Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal had reached out to Freddie Mac. In a letter to Freddie Mac, she claims the city is not in the foreclosure business and that now “the property is the responsibility of the owner.”
"We are hopeful that despite this unnecessary and violent raid on the Cruz home, the Mayor and the Minneapolis police will make good on their promise to stay out of the foreclosure business and stop carrying out the work of the banks with our tax dollars," said Occupy Homes MN organizer Martha Ockenfels-Martinez. "Ultimately, time will tell whose side they are on as we continue to fight for the homes of our neighbors."
Freddie Mac, the current holder of the Cruz family’s mortgage, requested the raid and arrests despite the fact that the family has been repeatedly assured by PNC Bank that they are working to resolve the issue.
At a press conference following the Sheriff Department’s second raid last Friday, City Council Members Gary Schiff, Elizabeth Glidden, and Cam Gordon came to show their support and speak out about the violent, unjust eviction of the Cruz family home. “I stand with you in calling on Hennepin County to suspend the breaking down of more doors and the breaking in of more homes of families in this community,” said City Councilmember Gary Schiff. “There is no excuse to resort to this kind of violence to put the wealth back in the hands of banks.”
All three arrestees were released at 1:20am, including one whose bail was lowered from $80,000 to $50.
Occupy Homes MN has protected the home in a round-the-clock occupation for nearly one month and mobilized supporters through a text alert system.
The Cruz home went into foreclosure in 2011 when PNC failed to withdraw an online mortgage payment and then demanded two months’ payment as punishment. Unable to pay more than the current month’s payment, the family fell into foreclosure.
Star Tribune Coverage: http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/155530715.html
Contact: Martha Ockenfels-Martinez 612-819-1203, Nick Espinosa 612-432-8888