SWAT Team executes eviction; 7 arrested in Rochester, NY eviction defense
The city of Rochester brought shock and awe into a residential community as they sent 25 police cars, including the Rochester SWAT team, to evict the Lennon-Griffin family- including a grandmother and 7 children- from a single family home.
Take Back the Land- Rochester engaged in an eviction defense and suffered six (6) arrests. Charges are not yet known. Spokesperson Ryan Acuff was not arrested. In addition, an elderly neighbor, who lives across the street from the home at 9 Ravenwood, was arrested- in her pajamas- for complaining loudly about the police overkill in her neighborhood.
According to a local news report, one neighbor said of the police scene, "This is not America."
Take Back the Land- Rochester has been on a two week eviction defense watch at Cathy Lennon's home on 9 Ravenwood Ave. in Rochester. Police drove by the home daily, but never stopped to attempt the eviction. This morning, shortly after 9am, the SWAT team stormed the home and forcibly removed those on defense watch. The neighborhood was shocked by the police overkill.
The eviction defense is part of a broader movement to elevate housing to the level of a human right and secure community control over land. Take Back the Land- Rochester is an independent organization affiliated with the Take Back the Land- Movement, a trans-local network of organizations dedicated to realizing housing as a human right and community control over land.
Take Back the Land- Rochester continues to maintain control over two (2) foreclosed homes into which homeless families were moved in over the past several months.
Rochester, NY: Eyewitness Report on on Lennon-Griffin Eviction
At least six people, protestors and neighbors, have been arrested for obstructing governmental administration in the eviction of a grandmother and her grandchildren. Good eyewitness report on the eviction from a social work student. This hints at the extreme police presence marshaled for these arrests, including arrest of an elderly neighbor who protested.
The initial five (5) members of Take Back The Land arrested were charged with "obstructing governmental administration." It is reported they will be processed and released within a couple of hours, sometime this afternoon.
Two (2) additional people were arrested about 10 minutes or so after the initial attempt to block the eviction. First was a Take Back The Land member who apparently crossed the police caution line, yet was not making an attempt to approach Cathy's home and block the eviction. He was immediately grabbed by a ranking officer and essentially pushed toward other officers across the street, who then arrested him. As this happened, an elderly neighbor who had been standing outside the entire time in her pajamas, spoke out in protest of the young man's arbitrary arrest. Almost immediately, handcuffs were placed on her and she was detained.
A few of us who witnessed the scene from across the street, attempted to question the officers as to their reason for arresting this woman. We received no reply. Within a couple of minutes, the police began telling us we had to move off the block unless we lived there. (Last I checked, U.S. Citizens have a Constitutional Right to the Freedom of Assembly.) We slowly moved down the street and gathered in front of a supporting neighbor's house. The police told us we could not be on the public sidewalk. Furthermore, they demanded the identification of the woman who lived at this house to prove she lived there. After she produced her I.D., the police went back down the street to continue protecting Fannie Mae and the corporate world.
In addition, another man walked up with Cathy and asked to speak to Ryan (Take Back The Land Organizer). The I.D. hanging around his neck said "Police" across the top. When questioned by some of the group members as to who he was, he said he was a "social worker for the police department." He apparently was going to take Cathy to Monroe County DSS to help her find a place to go. The irony in all of this is that Cathy had a place, but our city and county government would rather pay more money than the assessed value of her home to care for Cathy and her family.
What can you do?
-Write letters or call to members of Rochester City Council. Also contact your congressional representatives to let them know you do not support these actions.
-Stay tuned to your email for updates and come lend your support by joining in protest.
-Become informed regarding the bank bailouts and the continued rise in foreclosures across the country.
-Continue to be an advocate for others and help them find their voice.
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