From Grace Ross …

From “The Grace Team”:

Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending The statewide Alliance working to reverse the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts, expressed concern yesterday about an unexpected development in the handling of post-foreclosure evictions.   “We are finally getting the word out to families that you do not have to leave at foreclosure. Our state protects your rights to a legal eviction,” explains Grace Ross, Coordinator of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending. “We were dismayed then to hear from our local affiliates about the arrests without warning in Brockton. In general, police (like fire and other municipal workers) have experienced enough foreclosures in their ranks to be more respectful of housing rights they are only recently being dragged into address. We stand ready with training materials for police forces across the state. We trust this was just a single incident mistake that will be corrected today and that those facing foreclosure will feel safe to stay post-foreclosure knowing their legal rights will not be violated.”

Brockton Family Evicted and Arrested after Tense Standoff Arraignment in Brockton District Court Brockton – Yesterday Tyrone Hubbard and his two sons were arraigned in Brockton District Court.  They are facing charges of trespassing stemming from a Fannie Mae eviction on Friday September 28th, at their 137 Walnut Street home in Brockton.  Approximately 40 people supporting the Hubbard family protested and formed an eviction blockade, leading to an intense standoff with police.  Supporters included members from City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU), Brockton Bank Tenants Association, the Coalition of Social Justice and Lynn United for Change. Brockton City Councilor Jass Steward, who was also at the location, made courageous efforts to amicably resolve the issue without eviction.

At approximately 11 am, Brockton police formed a line, marched through protesters, entered the home and immediately arrested Mr. Hubbard and his two sons.  Two protesters sitting in the doorway – Sue Parsons and Annie Hunt, were pushed aside and not arrested.  Rev. Stewart Lanier, who was also sitting in the doorway willing to risk arrest, was also arrested.  Rev. Lanier, an extremely disciplined and mild-mannered man, has been charged with trespassing, and as reported by the Brockton Enterprise he is also charged with assault and battery on a police officer along with interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duty.

At no time was a warning given to any one to “leave the premises or be arrested.”

In addition to Mr. Hubbard, his two sons and Rev. Lanier, the police  also took into custody a young mother and her 6-week old baby who are members of the Hubbard family.  They were secretly taken out the back door, through a hole in the back fence and later to the hospital.  Police alleged that there was carbon monoxide in the home.  No appreciable amount was found in either the mom or the baby at the hospital.   During protests, City Life always emphasizes that the fight is with the bank, not the police.  The Brockton police have made their behavior an issue and in doing so, gave 3 different reasons for arresting the family:

·        First, police said the family refused to leave when ordered; but they received no such order. The family was fully prepared to leave – they were scrambling to get medicine etc., when arrested. This is the first family EVER arrested in a City Life eviction blockade.

·        Second, police maintained the family had been trespassing ever since 9 am, the time the constable said he was arriving.  This is a suspect legal rationale.  But even people who are trespassing are told to leave or face arrest.

·        Third, supporters and City Life members were told the police decided to arrest the family because they were nervous about protesters and believed that the protesters would disperse once the family was arrested.  City Life blockades are loud but extremely disciplined, and there is never a hint of violence.  City Life never leaves members in jail without supporting them.

For the following reasons, Fannie Mae is completely responsible for everything that happened on Friday September 28th, as well as the arrest of Rev. Stewart Lanier and the entire Hubbard Family.  Fannie Mae rejected 3 different alternatives to resolve this case without eviction:

·        Fannie Mae refused to offer principal reduction to avoid foreclosure, even though their own studies show it’s cheaper to reduce principal than to foreclose and evict.

·        Fannie Mae accepted the Hubbard’s rent for 11 months (through September) but refused to continue to take rent and allow them to stay.  As a result of a CLVU protest against Fannie Mae in DC, one of Fannie Mae’s national attorneys called to agree that the Hubbard’s had paid rent through September, BUT they still planned to evict them!

·        Fannie refused to wait for the outcome of the Hubbard’s application for a new mortgage from Boston Community Capital, a non-profit that Fannie Mae has previously worked with.

As the city of Brockton continues to be hit hard by foreclosures and bank evictions, the bank tenant movement will continue to grow.   As a result, there will inevitably be more protests. So, the Brockton Bank Tenant Association, City Life or is supporters will not be intimidated or deterred from organizing or conducting eviction blockades in the city of Brockton.

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