Occupy Homes protesters charged with rioting

Occupy protesters were charged with third-degree riot
Occupy protesters were charged with third-degree riot
Occupy Homes

Several Occupy protesters have been charged with rioting for their demonstrations at the Cruz family home.

Local protester Nick Espinosa, who made a name for himself by dropping pennies on Tom Emmer and glitter-bombing politicians across the county in addition to his work with Occupy Minnesota, was charged yesterday with third-degree riot (a gross misdemeanor), interfering with a peace officer, trespassing, disorderly conduct, and presence at unlawful assembly.

Espinosa did not return phone calls seeking comment but Occupy Homes released a statement blasting the city attorney for "escalating" charges against the protesters.

Initially, the protesters at the Cruz family home were charged with simple trespassing.

"These charges are a clear and disgraceful attempt to suppress the Occupy Homes movement and 'make an example' of anti-foreclosure organizers who were arrested while non-violently protesting an unjust eviction," Occupy's statement read. "City Attorney Susan Segal, appointed by Mayor RT Rybak, has also made it a point to aggressively prosecute other political defendants, including a group arrested while protesting US Bank's foreclosure practices last fall."

Despite the new charges, Occupy says it will continue its protests.

"This attempt to silence and stifle anti-foreclosure organizing will not deter us from fighting for our homes, our families, our neighbors, and our futures," Occupy said.

It is unknown at this time how many other protesters were hit with the new charges. Espinosa is one and the group acknowledges that "at least three arrestees (though likely more)" have been affected.

Related coverage:
-- Gary Schiff wants city of Minneapolis to send Cruz home police bill to PNC Bank
-- Police efforts at now-foreclosed Cruz family home cost taxpayers $42,429
-- Occupy Homes activist Nick Espinosa helps save his mom's Mpls home from foreclosure
-- Occupy Homes can't defend Cruz family home from third eviction attempt
-- Occupy Homes successfully defends foreclosed Mpls home against 4 a.m. eviction raid [PHOTOS]

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