Occupy Homes successfully defends foreclosed Mpls home against 4 a.m. eviction raid [PHOTOS]
The door to the Cruz's home was kicked in at some point during this week's drama.
At about 4 a.m. this morning, Hennepin County deputies descended on the 4044 Cedar Ave. S. home of Alejandra and David Cruz in an attempt to evict residents and protesters from the foreclosed home. Occupy Homes protesters were able to quickly mobilize and gather in strength.
UpTake Minnesota reports that five nonviolent protesters were arrested, and activists say law enforcement used power tools to cut away people who had physically attached themselves to the home with chains and cement. But the deputies' effort ultimately failed -- members of Occupy Homes remained inside the home as of this morning.
Ben Egerman, an organized with Occupy Homes, said in a press release that "an army of sheriffs marched in military-style and busted down the door in the dead of night."
Here's a photo of the deputies trying to advance through protesters toward the Cruz home this morning (for more images, check out Peter Leeman's excellent Tumblr blog):
And here's another of protestors giving Hennepin County deputies a piece of their mind as the left the scene:
This morning's raid represented deputies' second attempt to evict protesters from the home in 48 hours. Deputies arrived at the home about 3:30 Wednesday afternoon, but activists used a new rapid-response text messaging system to quickly gather 100 protesters in and around the home. By 5 p.m., deputies had left and the home remained securely in the hands of Occupy Homes.
According to UpTake, Alejandra and David's parents, who work as a stylist and dishwasher, respectively, fell behind on their mortgage, but still offered to make an online payment to Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank. PNC, however, demanded a multiple-month payment. When the Cruz's couldn't oblige, the home went into foreclosure.
Alejandra and David's parents began working with a nonprofit that was trying to negotiate a loan modification, but last Friday, an agent arrived and slapped an eviction noticed on the house, telling the Cruz family they had a few days to remove their belongings. They decided not to budge, and Occupy Homes has mobilized around their cause.
Said Alejandra: "We're one of the first Latino families who has stepped up for the many who are afraid to say that we're here to stay."
Occupy Homes has tried to persuade PNC Executive Vice President Dan Taylor to renegotiate the Cruz's mortgage loan, and Taylor signaled yesterday that he's willing to work with the family, Occupy says. So the timing of this morning's raid seemed particularly puzzling.
Said Egerman: "It's unconscionable that Sheriff Stanek ordered the violent eviction of this home a second time, especially when he is fully aware of active negotiations between the family and the bank to resolve the situation peacefully."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.