MN: Nonviolent Cruz Family Supporters Targeted with Riot Charges Weeks After Arrests
A scary and outrage-inducing update from Occupy Homes MN:
several activists with Occupy Homes MN discovered that the City Attorney has decided to escalate charges following their arrests defending the Cruz family home. Prosecutors at the City Attorney’s office originally charged the group of Cruz family supporters with trespassing, and have now moved to significantly more serious charges including 3rd degree riot–a gross misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.
These charges are a clear and disgraceful attempt to suppress the Occupy Homes movement and ‘make an example’ of anti-foreclosure organizers who were arrested while non-violently protesting an unjust eviction. City Attorney Susan Segal, appointed by Mayor RT Rybak, has also made it a point to aggressively prosecute other political defendants, including a group arrested while protesting US Bank’s foreclosure practices last fall.
As of now at least three arrestees (though likely more) are charged with the following:
- 3rd degree riot (gross misdemeanor)
- Obstructing legal process
- Disorderly conduct
- Presence At An Unlawful Assembly
Instead of prosecuting the criminal fraud of the bankers that crashed our economy, or working to give relief to families devastated by the foreclosure crisis, our tax dollars are being spent to evict families at the banks’ behest, and to intimidate and prosecute neighbors fighting to keep more vacant homes out of their communities.
The fight to defend the Cruz family from a wrongful and unnecessary eviction has garnered support from hundreds of thousands of supporters around the country with solidarity actions in over a dozen cities, and has sent a message to big banks everywhere that we won’t stand by and let them steal our homes.
This attempt to silence and stifle anti-foreclosure organizing will not deter us from fighting for our homes, our families, our neighbors, and our futures.
We shall not be moved.