Five Arrested As Occupiers Successfully Defend Home from Second Eviction Attempt

UPDATE: Thanks to massive public pressure, our courageous friends who put their bodies on the line to defend the Cruz home will be released tonight on $100 bail! We will celebrate in a safe space with the Cruz family and the arrestees at the home of Gerardo Cajamarca, who is also fighting an upcoming eviction, starting at 6:00pm 5613 Standish Ave.

We are still here and are currently negotiating with PNC bank!

Occupy Homes MN Supporters bring the Cruz family's destroyed door to city hall

UPDATE: Alejandra and David brought their door that the sherrifs smashed in at 4am this morning and 75 supporters chanted and redecorated Sheriff Stanek's office for over an hour until they finally agreed to meet with the family to explain why they attempted to evict the family for the second time in 48 hours in full knowledge that PNC Bank was actively negotiating with the family to find a peaceful solution.

Cruz family's smashed front door at Sherrif Stanek's office

UPDATE: Community members will hold an emergency 12:00pm press conference and march on Sheriff Stanek's office from the steps of City Hall to denounce him for authorizing the violent eviction of the home while the family is in active negotiations with the bank to peacefully resolve the situation. They will demand he stop trying to evict the home while the bank is working to resolve the issue.
UPDATE: Sheriffs have said they will hold the arrestees until TUESDAY. Call sheriff Stanek to demand they release them IMMEDIATELY. Ask him why his deputies are evicting a family negotiating with the bank and to demand he stop these senseless attacks on our community. (612)348-3744

Eviction Defense. Photo: Peter Leeman

Platoons of sheriffs descended on the Cruz family home in a 4 am raid today, arresting five nonviolent supporters in the second failed eviction attempt in 48 hours. Fifty protesters mobilized to defend the home and outflanked the sheriffs by marching through the alley into backyard, causing the sheriffs to retreat without fully securing the home. Members of Occupy Homes MN remain inside the home as of 7 am this morning.

“An army of sheriffs marched in military-style and busted down the door in the dead of night,” said Ben Egerman, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. “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.”

Several protesters, who had locked themselves to structures in and around the home, sustained minor injuries as sheriffs forcibly removed them from the balcony and roof with jackhammers and electric saws. The condition of arrested persons remains unknown.

Occupy Homes MN has been defending the home in a round-the-clock eviction blockade since April 30 to demand PNC Bank negotiate with the Cruz family, who fell into foreclosure when the bank failed to withdraw their online payment.

The second eviction attempt came hours after Occupy Pittsburgh delivered a giant letter to PNC Bank Executive Vice President Dan Taylor, who committed to working with the family to modify their loan.

“It’s clear that Sheriff Stanek would rather kick families out of their homes than work with our communities,” said Martha Ockenfels-Martinez of Occupy Homes. “We’re still here and we will not be moved from this home until we see a good faith negotiation.”

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