Riot Charges Dropped Against Occupy Homes Activists

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Organizer Nick Espinosa talks about the OccupyMN movement

Click photo to watch interview with organizer Nick Espinosa

Click photo to watch interview with organizer Nick Espinosa

Riot charges were dropped this morning against Minnesota Occupy Homes activists Nick Espinosa and Matthew Van Grinsven, who were arrested while defending the Cruz house in South Minneapolis from home eviction this summer. Occupy claims that the Mexican immigrant family was fraudulently foreclosed upon by PNC Bank.

In this video recorded last week, Espinosa addressed what effect the riot charges and police arrests had on the Occupy movement and its morale.

Espinosa and Van Grinsven faced gross misdemeanor riot charges and penalties that carried up to two years in jail and a $7,000 fine. Instead, the two defendants walked out of court with pleas for a petty misdemeanor and a $78 fine. Occupy activists claimed that, during the court proceedings, “the prosecution swore that none of us would get anything less than a misdemeanor, and tried to intimidate us to take a bad deal that would limit our ability to protest in the future.”

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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