Occupy Temporarily Retakes Cruz Home, 14 Arrested


The see-saw battle between Occupy Minnesota activists and the city of Minneapolis will continue tomorrow (Friday) as activists plan to “reoccupy” a foreclosed South Minneapolis home .

After two unsuccessful tries earlier this week, Minneapolis police and Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies evicted the protesters on Tuesday from the Cruz home, 4044 Cedar Ave. South. Wednesday after unsatisfactory discussions with Minneapolis Mayor, R. T. Rybak, Occupy Homes recaptured the house and opened the front and back doors which had been boarded up. But late in the evening Minneapolis police showed up, ended the occupation and arrested 14 people

New players in the drama: private security guards hired by the lender.

The latest chapter in the battle unfolded Thursday as the home was guarded by unarmed private security guards employed by Freddie Mac. After a strategy meeting in the church parking lot across the street, Occupy Minnesota activists stormed the house and sat down with arms linked around the house. They succeeded in cutting open the back door and breaking open the barricade on the front door. The original front door had been delivered to Hennepin County Sheriff Stanek after his deputies had smashed it.

Following a City Hall press conference at noon the same day, Occupy Homes attempted to meet with Mayor Rybak. He declined the meeting, but they trapped him in the hall. The group were asking for a meeting with him and the two members of the Cruz family, Alejandra and David. At one point the mayor said he would meet with them only if they were alone, no other advocates present. The group also reminded him of the statement the day before that, “The City is not in the foreclosure business.” They did not feel that the got a satisfactory answer.

Alejandra Cruz

The press was asked not to record the strategy planning and we were asked to leave the area while the final plan was developed.

Shortly after the group re-occupied the home, police showed up. (You can see this about 5:50 into the video) They just watched with floodlights on the house until about 10:30. The activists had a mirror that was reflecting the police light back on the officers.

Back Door

Front Door

According to an OccupyHomes release, “Around 10:30PM, dozens of police returned in full force, many wielding four-foot batons, and closed off the entire block around Cedar Avenue. Several officers, including Police Chief Tim Dolan, trampled over the eight protesters sitting down and linking arms on the front steps of the home.

“During this time dozens of protesters gathered in the front and back yard linking arms around the Cruz family home. A police line shoved the protesters linking arms in the front yard down the hill to the sidewalk. The protesters linking arms sang and chanted ‘It stops here’ before the 8 protesters sitting on the front steps of the house were violently arrested.

“One police officer head-locked Occupy Homes organizer Nick Espinosa, who was sitting on the top of the steps, throwing him down on his back and dragging him inside the front door of the house in the arrest. ”

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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