Occupy Homes protesting arrest of homeless men who were fixing up foreclosed Mpls home

Categories: Protest News
marchoccupyhomelessness-560.jpg
Occupy Homes MN on Facebook
Activists blocked an intersection in downtown Minneapolis last night to protest the arrests.
:::: UPDATE, 4:35 p.m. :::: Occupy sources tell City Pages no felony charges will be filed against Martinneau and Willis. They have been charged with misdemeanor trespassing, however.

Just after noon yesterday, Antoine Martinneau and Damion Willis were arrested while doing some work on a foreclosed home near the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in south Minneapolis.

SEE ALSO: Occupy MN cuts ties with Occupy Homes MN, calls the group "commercial" and "classist"

According to Occupy Homes, both Martinneau and Willis and currently "experiencing homelessness" and found the home unlocked. But Hennepin County officials say both men are being held on suspicion of a felony count of "possession of burglary tools," a charge that carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Martinneau and Willis are being held without bail pending the outcome of a hearing scheduled for noon tomorrow.

In response, Occupy Homes is planning a rally for 11:30 a.m. this morning outside the Hennepin County Government Center. Organizers are planning to march "to Wells Fargo, City Hall, and the county jail," according to a press release.

Occupy Homes member Claire Bergren characterized the possibility Martinneau and Willis could face felony charges as "outrageous given what they were doing."

"This is a trend throughout the country, people reclaiming vacant homes and fixing them up for their families," Bergren told us. "They're criminalizing homelessness and we're not going to stand for it."

Bergren said she thinks racism is a factor in the fact Martinneau and Willis, both of whom are black, are being held without bail. (They were arrested along with a third person, who was cited and released.)

"I think it's hard to imagine that that if three white people were fixing up a home they would've been detained and slapped with felony charges," she said, adding that she believes police were called to the property following a call from a neighbor.

"Nobody is mad at the neighbor," Bergren said. "We need solidarity in our community."

A voicemail left with the Minneapolis Police Department spokesman seeking more information about the arrests wasn't immediately returned.

A Hennepin County official told us holding suspects who are arrested on suspicion of committing felonies without bail until their first court hearing is standard practice. But during today's protest, Occupy Homes is demanding "the city immediately release the arrestees and drop the charges."

"The community will rally to show they won't tolerate the city's intimidation tactics and trumped up charges being used against homeless African American individuals defending their human right to housing," the Occupy Homes release says.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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24 comments
kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

Typical Democrat Squatters. 

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

I like the wing of the occupy movement that buys bad debt for pennies on the dollar and then forgives it. These clowns in this story are just squatters. What were they going to do if the property was sold to somebody else?

CITYRIDERRT19
CITYRIDERRT19

How is this any different than squating?, I can understand if these two men had been forced out of the home because of some unforeseen circumstances, financial, landlord abuse, loss of employment, etc, but they had no claim to the home whatsoever. 

Now I can see why this movement continues to receive less and less support.

crxtasy
crxtasy

These Occupy people need to get a job and find something useful to do with their time.

Chris Peden
Chris Peden

Pay your payments! Pretty simple... you borrowed the money with an agreement to pay them back with interest. And you didn't hold up to your end of the bargain so you get kicked out. That's not racism that's just the way it is.

Kitty Berg
Kitty Berg

Where is the injustice? They were squatting in a house. They broke in. The property is not theirs. Obviously they were arrested. If theyre in jail they arent technically homeless anymore. Why is this even considered news. Go back to talking about rich people i have never heard of so I feel less angry when I have updates in my newsfeed.

April Streich
April Streich

Angela Salzl, it's really depressing to hear that you think people should "struggle and shut up." Why would you encourage people to sit back and deal with injustice without attempting to fight back against it?

Tes Sa
Tes Sa

Thank you Jamie Utt

Jamie Utt
Jamie Utt

It blows my mind to see the number of people who are defending the banks who are buffered by state-sanctioned violence against people when banks are unlawfully stealing people's homes every day. People take back property from the banks (when there are more homes sitting empty in bank foreclosure than homeless people in the U.S.), and people ask the arrested individuals what's wrong with them? Our priorities. Thanks, Capitalism!

Kendra Nelson
Kendra Nelson

Their attitude seems to be finders keepers. And it looks like no more than 20 people showed up to protest anyway not quite sure this is even a news store

Angela Salzl
Angela Salzl

If I could find a foreclosed home and just fixing it up and claim it as mine...... That would be great. Follow the laws, struggle to pay for a roof over your head like everyone else and shut up.

Kyle Ingebrigtson
Kyle Ingebrigtson

Well duh, the banks and the homeless have such different design tastes. This would never work.

Nick Shmoo S
Nick Shmoo S

Human right to housing? What ? Help I'm confused. Is there a list of rights I don't know of?

Danielle Leddy
Danielle Leddy

My thoughts exactly, Julie. I'm really confused by this one.

Colleen Ferguson
Colleen Ferguson

And if they hurt themselves while squatting in this home they would sue the bank and the city for making the home easy to break into....

Julie Kapitan
Julie Kapitan

Am I missing something? You go into a home that doesn't belong to you, start working on it and plan to live there? That doesn't seem lawful.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

Wish I had known sooner I would be down there protesting with them! There in spirit!

Aaron David Schultz
Aaron David Schultz

Fuck that nothing is free, i lost my house. Had to move out and start over. And you know it's wrong.

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