Police Evict Occupy MN From Foreclosed Home

Minneapolis police kicked in the door of a foreclosed home and evicted seven to eight Occupy MN protesters just after noon today. A dozen or so squad cars and the fire department were called to the home of an University of Minnesota professor in South Minneapolis who owned the home until U.S. Bank foreclosed on it. There were no arrests made today.

Today’s raid follows an unsuccessful attempt by police last night to evict the protesters. Two protesters were arrested during that failed eviction last night, one for trespassing another for resisting arrest. Police arrived at the home just three hours after protesters occupied it.

Last night police were thwarted as more than 100 activists linked arms around Sára Kaiser’s foreclosed home and successfully prevented Minneapolis police officers from boarding up the house and kicking them off the property, with chants of “You can’t evict them all.” Within minutes, the officers left the scene with their two arrested demonstrators in tow, and the demonstrators re-entered the house at 3334 25th Ave. South.

In the video provided by Occupy MN of Saturday’s failed eviction, police are asked why they are blocking entry into the house.
“We’re doing an investigation” says one of the officers “We’re making sure that no one can come in because it’s a numbers and it’s a safety issue right now….because you guys outnumber us right now by a lot.”

When police returned to the home today at 12:30pm, they were greeted by a much smaller crowd of seven to eight demonstrators. The demonstrators left peacefully and police began the process of boarding up the house. Occupy MN has called a 4:30pm meeting for it’s members to plan its next moves.

This is the second foreclosed home to be “occupied”

Earlier this month, Occupy MN moved into Monique White’s foreclosed home in North Minneapolis to prevent U.S. Bank from evicting her. The move arguably made the local Occupy movement both more ethnically diverse, and more relevant.

Yesterday, dozens of activists expanded their reach by staging a rally outside Sára Kaiser’s home, which was also foreclosed upon by U.S. Bank. Kaiser is a Hungarian immigrant who has lived in the United States for 13 years: she is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and also teaches Cultural Anthopology at Metro State University. The single mother fell victim to an adjustable home loan and lost legal possession of her home.

Unlike Monique White’s home in North Minneapolis, Sára Kaiser’s home is officially on the real estate market, with a “for sale” sign out front that the Occupy activists removed yesterday and stashed in the back yard before the rally began. Hours before the rally, the first heavy snowfall of the year descended on their heads.

About an hour and a half before the police arrived to make arrests, a squad car was seen circling the block. According to a report in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, the two activists arrested were Devin Lee Wynn-Shemanek and Michael Anthony Bounds, both 19 years old. Bounds was charged with burglary, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s jail roster; Wynn-Shemanek was arrested for obstruction of justice, Minneapolis Police Sgt. John Sullivan told the Pioneer Press. The mortgage company that owns the house reportedly alerted the police department and asked them to remove the protestors.

After Saturday night’s raid one of the protesters proclaimed to onlookers , “If your homes every get foreclosed, call us. We’ll be there.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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