MN: Cruz Home “Reoccupied” by Minneapolis Police, Supporters Pray for Justice
On Friday afternoon the Cruz family, neighbors and supporters held hands and surrounded 30 police in the front yard of their home while Pastor Todd Mathison of Ebenezer Lutheran Church led a prayer for justice for the Cruz family and a swift return to their home.
They then held a barbecue in the parking lot of the Ebenezer Lutheran Church, located directly across the street from the home, to celebrate the one-month anniversary of the occupation of their foreclosed home. As the occupation began, supporters declared they would not leave until PNC Bank and Freddie Mac negotiated with the family to keep them in their home.
“We have continued to negotiate with PNC Bank and Freddie Mac to find a solution to keep our family in the home, but until we see action we are not giving up this struggle for our family and for the millions of families all over the country losing their homes because greedy banks would rather throw people out than work with them,” said David Cruz.
Supporters of the Cruz family were disturbed to find their home under occupation by a massive police force of over 30 Minneapolis police officers with batons, bicycles, over two dozen marked and undercover squad cars and a paddy wagon which blocked two alleys, preventing one neighbor from leaving his home. A mobile spy camera was also posted on the corner of 41st and Cedar.
“The ongoing waste of thousands of public dollars by Mayor Rybak and his police to serve as taxpayer-funded private security for Freddie Mac shows that our city is more concerned with protecting banks than keeping families in their homes,” said Martha Ockenfels-Martinez, an organizer with Occupy Homes MN.
“If you look at the people protecting the Cruz home, it’s average everyday people. It’s regular folks who share a common interest in doing the right thing. The house has been occupied for weeks and they were quiet and respectful. It wasn’t until the police arrived en masse that the problems started.” Said neighbor Sasha Lindquist. “Everybody knows somebody who’s going through this foreclosure mess, it’s an epidemic.”
Twenty-three have been arrested during five eviction attempts in the last week as part of an ongoing defense of the Cruz family’s home that has garnered national attention. Fourteen were arrested defending 4044 Cedar Avenue Wednesday night amid a sea of Minneapolis police officers, only 24 hours after Mayor Rybak’s office, facing mounting public pressure, issued a news release declaring “the City is not in the foreclosure business.” In the statement, City Attorney Susan Segal is quoted saying “The City plays a limited role to protect public safety. The property is the responsibility of its owner… In this case, the City has fulfilled its legal obligation to secure the property.”
“If PNC Bank and Freddie Mac have not come up with a solution for the Cruz family by Monday, June 11th at 12pm we will take back the home again,” said Nick Espinosa, who was arrested along with 13 others linking arms and sitting outside the home Wednesday night.
Occupy Homes MN is calling for national escalation of pressure on local PNC Bank and Freddie Mac offices. Protests are planned on behalf of the Cruz family Monday in Washington, D.C. at Freddie Mac’s headquarters and in Pittsburgh at PNC Bank headquarters. Last week supporters led protests at Freddie Mac’s regional headquarters in Chicago and PNC Bank’s national headquarters in Pittsburgh, leading to one citation.
Freddie Mac, the current holder of the Cruz family’s mortgage, has hired 24-hour private security who were not present today.
As of 8pm over a dozen Minneapolis police officers continued to guard the home.