Video by Jacob Wheeler
A tense standoff between dozens of Minneapolis police and Occupy Minnesota protesters. Police arrested three people as they raided a home “defended” by Occupy Minnesota activists this afternoon. The raid comes on the heels of two previous eviction attempts from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office, one which was at 4 AM on a Friday morning.
Like the previous evictions attempts, police were met by a force of at least 50 Occupy Minnesota protesters who had been alerted to the raid by a texting network. One protester, identified as “T.K.” had chained his arm inside a cement barrel to stop the eviction. Just like Friday’s raid, Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies used a jackhammer to break him out of the barrel and arrest him.
Police said they were called to the scene by the lender, which is Freddie Mac, to arrest trespassers. PNC Bank, which is servicing the loan, reportedly has been negotiating with the homeowners so they can remain in their home. About an hour before the raid, Occupy Minnesota released a video that they say shows a PNC Bank Executive VP committing to work on the Cruz family’s case last Thursday.
The house is owned by Alejandra and David Cruz.
Last Friday the Hennepin County Sheriff’s department issued a statement saying Sheriffs are mandated to follow orders of the court – including eviction orders. On April 26, 2012, the Hennepin County District Court had ordered an eviction at 4044 Cedar Avenue South. The Sheriff was ordered to comply within 30 days.
A representative from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office was at the scene, but refused to talk to the media. The Mayor’s office has come under increasing criticism for doing little to prevent forcible evictions on foreclosed homes. However, the city did issue a written statement to the media:
Minneapolis Police today secured a foreclosed home at 4044 Cedar Ave. S. by boarding it up. At the direction of Mayor Rybak, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal reached out to Freddie Mac to say that the City is not in the foreclosure business. “The City plays a limited role to protect public safety. The property is the responsibility of its owner,” said Segal. In this case, the City has fulfilled its legal obligation to secure the property.