Jackhammers Used In Eviction Raid On Occupy Defended Home

Bashed in door at occupy defended Cruz home. Click image to see a video about the raid

In the dark of night, Hennepin County Sheriff’s officers raided a foreclosed Minneapolis home that is being “defended” by Occupy Minnesota according to the group.

Occupy says five people were arrested, but the a crowd of fifty people prevented the officers from evicting them from the house.

This is the Hennepin County Sheriff’s second attempt in 48 hours to evict people from the home. 100 protesters repelled sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday.

PNC Bank originally owned the house (though lender Freddie Mac holds the title now) and Occupy Homes claims that the Pittsburgh-based bank has shown signs of willingness to negotiate a new mortgage with the Alejandra and David Cruz family. Occupy believes that only PNC Bank, and not Freddie Mac, can renegotiate the mortgage terms.

Move video: Interviews from the scene of the raid, rally and news conference at city hall

From the raid scene:

Press release from Occupy Minnesota:
Platoons of sheriffs descended on the Cruz family home in a 4 am raid today, arresting five nonviolent supporters in the second failed eviction attempt in 48 hours. Fifty protesters mobilized to defend the home and outflanked the sheriffs by marching through the alley into backyard, causing the sheriffs to retreat without fully securing the home. Members of Occupy Homes MN remain inside the home as of 7 am this morning.

“An army of sheriffs marched in military-style and busted down the door in the dead of night,” said Ben Egerman, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. “It’s unconscionable that Sheriff Stanek ordered the violent eviction of this home a second time, especially when he is fully aware of active negotiations between the family and the bank to resolve the situation peacefully.”

Several protesters, who had locked themselves to structures in and around the home, sustained minor injuries as sheriffs forcibly removed them from the balcony and roof with jackhammers and electric saws. The condition of arrested persons remains unknown.

Occupy Homes MN has been defending the home in a round-the-clock eviction blockade since April 30 to demand PNC Bank negotiate with the Cruz family, who fell into foreclosure when the bank failed to withdraw their online payment.

The second eviction attempt came hours after Occupy Pittsburgh delivered a giant letter to PNC Bank Executive Vice President Dan Taylor, who committed to working with the family to modify their loan.

“It’s clear that Sheriff Stanek would rather kick families out of their homes than work with our communities,” said Martha Ockenfels-Martinez of Occupy Homes. “We’re still here and we will not be moved from this home until we see a good faith negotiation.”

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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