High Profile Arrest At Evicted Minneapolis Family’s Home

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Brother Ali gives himself up for arrest. Click image to watch video of the arrests.

Brother Ali gives himself up for arrest. Click image to watch video of the arrests.

125 community members gathered at the home of the Cruz family in South Minneapolis and 13, including hip-hop artist Brother Ali, were arrested when they crossed the police line to protest PNC Bank’s reversal of their commitment to work with the family after the family fell into foreclosure due to a bank error. Brother Ali, who grew up in north Minneapolis, has been an outspoken supporter of Occupy Homes anti-foreclosures protests for about a year.

In front of the crowd of supporters, each of the 13 spoke as to why they were willing to cross the police line before asking the officers to allow them to step onto the property and be arrested, bringing the total arrest count at the home to 39 within the past month.

Despite Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s statement that the city was not in the foreclosure business, nearly two dozen Minneapolis police officers stood guard on the Cruz home to protect it for mortgage holder Freddie Mac. The arrests they made were for trespass.

Cruz family tries again in Pittsburgh
The Cruz family was not at their former home for Thursday’s arrests. Instead they had traveled to Pittsburgh, PNC Bank’s national headquarters. They came because the bank promised it would try to work something out, but had refused to discuss the loan with Occupy Pittsburgh activists who were demonstrating outside the bank on the family’s behalf. The family tried to meet with PNC Bank CEO Jim Rohr on Thursday and Friday to demand a good faith negotiation. But both times the bank refused to allow them to talk to Rohr.

“PNC did not give us the meeting we requested. Instead of sitting down for a good faith negotiation with someone who had the power to fix the bank’s error, they sat us down with low-level PR executives who had no intention or authority to negotiate with us,” said Alejandra Cruz. “We came here to resolve this issue, and we’re not leaving without some answers.”

The Cruz family drove 800 miles to hand deliver their loan modification documents in person, along with more than 40,000 petition signatures.The bank turnaround incited outrage and disgust among the family’s supporters. The rally at the Cruz family home concluded a nationwide day of action in which 18 cities rallied to demand PNC negotiate with the family

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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