13 Arrested After PNC Bank Breaks Promise to Work with Wrongfully Evicted Family, Family Vows to Return Friday

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Internationally renowned hip-hop artist Brother Ali was the first to cross the police line and face arrest.

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 inexplicable reversal of their commitment  to work with the family after the family fell into foreclosure due to a bank error. 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.

In Pittsburgh, after reaching PNC Bank’s national headquarters, the Cruz family has vowed to return to headquarters at noon on Friday to demand a good faith negotiation.

“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.”

Despite the fact that the Cruz family drove 800 miles to hand deliver their loan modification documents in person, along with over 40,000 petition signatures, PNC Bank refused to work with the family to find a solution that would keep them in their home, inciting outrage and disgust among the family’s supporters.

“As we were leaving, PNC they asked if we were going back home after the meeting.  Going back to what home? The one they are trying to take away? They were so callous about our situation. What if this was happening to their family? Would they still be saying that ‘there’s nothing we can do’?” said David Cruz. “I doubt it.”

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Alejandra and David Cruz, along with 40 supporters, marched to PNC Bank’s Pittsburgh headquarters with the door to their south Minneapolis home that was beaten in by sheriffs in a 4 am raid.

Thursday night’s rally at the Cruz family home concluded a nationwide day of action in which 18 cities rallied to demand PNC negotiate with the family to allow them to return home. In Pittsburgh, 40 supporters rallied with the Cruz caravan and marched with the door to the Cruzes’ home that was violently smashed by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies during a 4:00am raid. Although Alejandra, David and Anthony met with PNC representatives for an hour and submitted their loan modification documents, PNC Bank still refused to negotiate, dismissed their request for a modification and openly displayed contempt for the family.

PNC’s inexcusable behavior demonstrates to the family’s supporters both in Minneapolis and across the nation that PNC would rather see homes sit empty than work with families. Their lack of integrity was apparent when the PR representatives condescendingly told Alejandra and David that “based on your payment history, we don’t think you’d be able to pay for the house,” though they were unable to produce any evidence of missed payments.

The Cruzes’ battle against an unjust foreclosure has already become a focal point for the Occupy movement and garnered media attention from around the country. This evening confirmed that the fight for the Cruz home will continue until the family is back in their home. “We will not be shamed out of what we deserve when PNC Bank is the one who should be ashamed of their behavior. We deserve dignity and a meeting with those who can renegotiate our mortgage,” Alejandra Cruz said to the crowd of supporters in Pittsburgh after the meeting. “We are not giving up. This is not the end.”

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Two Arrests as Balloon Banner, Rooftop Occupation Kick Off Nationwide Protest Demanding Cruz Family Be Allowed to Return Home

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Minneapolis – Around 6:30am this morning a large balloon banner reading “Evictions Stop Here” was deployed above the embattled home of the Cruz family as 15 supporters of the Cruz family began an occupation of the rooftop in protest of the family’s unjust foreclosure. By 8:30am two were cut out of a lockbox device with an electric saw, handcuffed, taken down a ladder and arrested for trespassing. The action kicks off a national day of action in 18 cities demanding PNC Bank negotiate with the family to allow them to return to their home.

Watch video of the two rooftop occupiers’ arrest here.

Alejandra and David Cruz  will arrive at the bank’s headquarters in Pittsburgh around 1pm with over 40,000 petition signatures and their loan modification documents demanding a meeting with CEO Jim Rohr to renegotiate their mortgage.

The Cruzes’ battle against an unjust foreclosure has become a focal point for the Occupy movement and garnered media attention from around the country.  In the past month, 24 community supporters with Occupy Homes MN have been arrested defending the south Minneapolis home.  The campaign has become a sticky political situation for local elected officials, PNC Bank, and Freddie Mac, the current owner of the property.

Although PNC has acknowledged the foreclosure was due to a bank error, executives have repeatedly said they are working “behind the scenes” to fix the situation, and Executive Vice President Dan Taylor said that he would look into the Cruzes’ case, the bank has not offered a negotiation. “We feel like PNC and Freddie Mac have forgotten us,” said David Cruz. “So we’re going to remind them.”

On their way to Pittsburgh, the Cruzes stopped in Chicago to visit Freddie Mac, the current owner of the home, at their regional office, where 40 supporters rallied with the Cruzes’ battered front door. Supporters then marched to a local PNCbranch where they were denied entrance by Chicago police officers and the branch refused to accept the Cruzes’ loan documents.

Thursday evening in Minneapolis, community members and neighbors will rally sending a clear message to PNC Bank that if a negotiation has not been offered, supporters will continue to return to the home even if it means risking arrest. “This home belongs to the Cruz family,” said Occupy Homes MN organizer Nick Espinosa. “We won’t rest until they’re back in it.”

More photos of the balloon launch can be found here.

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The schedule for Thursday’s actions is as follows:

THURSDAY 6/21: National Day of Action Against PNC Bank.
As the Cruz family arrives at PNC Bank headquarters in Pittsburgh, supporters will rally across the country to demand that PNClive up to their word and work with the Cruz family.

In Minneapolis supporters will hold a rally and vigil at the Cruz home (6pm Central Time; 4044 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN)
Rallies in support of the Cruz family are planned in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Gainesville, Greensboro, Milwaukee, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis
In Pittsburgh the Cruz family delegation and local supporters will rally and march to PNC Headquarters. (1pm Eastern Time, Market Square)
For up-to-date information about events across the country visit: http://www.facebook.com/events/256490674453153/ orwww.occupyhomesmn.org/

Video profile of the Cruz family story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_6Kz8MIpns&feature=youtu.be

High quality photos: http://peterleeman.tumblr.com/tagged/cruz-house

Alejandra Cruz’s petition for her family: http://www.change.org/CruzHome

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