Police arrest three Occupy protesters at evicted house
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- May 30, 2012 - 6:27 PM
UPDATED 6:26 p.m. Wednesday: According to Sgt. Bill Palmer, protesters were out Tuesday night at the house and got a warning from police. Around noon Wednesday, police got a call that protesters were trying to get into the house. Police went and arrested one person and boarded up the home again. Protesters said they planned to reoccupy the home at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
In the third confrontation between law enforcement and Occupy protesters within a week, three protesters were arrested for trespassing at a foreclosed south Minneapolis house Tuesday afternoon.
Around 4 p.m., Minneapolis police arrested one person who had chained himself into a "sleeping dragon" inside the house at 4044 Cedar Av. S. Two other people were arrested for crossing the tape that police used to cordon off parts of the block, according to Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer. Sheriff's deputies had served an eviction notice last week, but protesters continued to occupy the home. On Tuesday, the city said it was contacted by the lender to secure the property.
"We don't want to be involved in these actions, but legally when we get a call from an owner on a trespass we have to respond," said Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan, standing in front of the house after police had boarded up its doors and windows.
At least 20 Minneapolis police officers were at the scene. More than 50 protesters rallied outside the house and eventually marched to the third precinct police station before returning to the property Tuesday night.
Last Wednesday, protesters blocked off Cedar Avenue from E 41st Street to E 40th Street for about an hour after sheriff’s deputies attempted an eviction at the house. The deputies eventually left without arresting anybody. Early Friday morning, Sheriff's deputies went back, broke down the door, and arrested five people who had chained themselves inside. Protesters, who have been occupying houses to prevent foreclosures since last fall, held a rally at City Hall to protest the arrests.
Occupy organizers have said that the family that lived in the house has been renegotiating the mortgage loan with PNC Bank in Pittsburgh and contended the arrests were unnecessary.
"The amount of money that this is costing the city...It's unconscionable," said Anthony Newby, an activist with Neighbors Organizing for Change.
In a statement released Tuesday, the city said, "At the direction of Mayor Rybak, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal reached out to Freddie Mac to say that the City is not in the foreclosure business. 'The City plays a limited role to protect public safety. The property is the responsibility of its owner,' said Segal. In this case, the City has fulfilled its legal obligation to secure the property."
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