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US Deputies evict squatting Oakland moms in pre-dawn raid

18:51  14 january  2020
18:51  14 january  2020 Source:   sfgate.com

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Raid : Police surround members of the clergy before arresting them during the eviction of the Occupy Oakland camp today at dawn . Quan had allowed protesters to reclaim the disbanded site after facing criticism following the October 25 raid . The camp grew substantially afterward, although city officials

Hours before the raid , a legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan resigned via Twitter, saying he supported Occupy Oakland . The protest has been marred in recent weeks by outbreaks of violence. A 25-year-old man, Kayode Ola Foster, was shot dead near the plaza on Thursday evening.

In an early morning raid, sheriff's deputies evicted a group of mothers illegally occupying a vacant house in Oakland.

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A Colorado Springs couple finally gained access to their home after squatters changed the door locks. The rightful homeowners had to go to court and file

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Multiple videos posted by news organizations online show the mothers being pulled out of the house and put in handcuffs by deputies just before 6 a.m. Protesters stood outside chanting "shame on you" at the deputies.

Officers boarded up the home's doors and windows after evicting the women.

The women's children were removed from the home on Monday night, according to KCBS Radio.

Wedgewood Inc. bought the property for $501,000 at a foreclosure auction last year. They had planned to flip the 1,500-square-foot property, which is on Magnolia Street in West Oakland.

The women and their children moved into the three-bedroom house without permission in November, partly to protest the methods of speculators who they say snap up distressed homes and leave them empty despite the housing crisis.

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Alameda County Superior Court Judge Patrick McKinney ruled on Friday that the women do not have the right to stay and must leave within five days.

McKinney allowed lawyers for one of the women, Dominique Walker, and her recently formed collective, Moms 4 Housing, to make their case. They argued that housing is a right and that the court must give the women the right to possess the house, especially because it sat vacant for so long and the alternative would be to send the women to live on the streets.

The judge denied Walker's request to offer expert testimony on the right to housing through federal and international law.

“The court recognizes the importance of these issues but, as raised in connection with Ms. Walker's claim of right to possession, finds that they are outside the scope of this proceeding," McKinney wrote.

In recent days, supporters of the women have gathered in front of the house.

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Dozens of police arrived before dawn to clear out residents who had ignored a weekend deadline to leave the cluster of caravans and huts made of plywood and plastic in an empty lot, deemed unsanitary in a court order last week. "They surrounded us, began dragging away people, dragged them through

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Wedgewood Inc. offered to house the women for two months through Catholic Charities and pay for moving expenses. The sheriff's office also offered services. Moms 4 Housing rejected the offers.

Moms 4 Housing issued a statement on Twitter after the eviction: "We’ve built a movement of thousands of Oaklanders who showed up at a moments notice to reject police violence and advocate for homes for families. This isn’t over, and it won’t be over until everyone in the Oakland community has a safe and dignified place to live."

Wedgewood also released a statement: "Wedgewood is pleased the illegal occupation of its Oakland home has ended peacefully.  That is what the company has sought since the start.  We will now work with a non-profit, Shelter 37, to renovate the home giving opportunities to at-risk Oakland youths and splitting the profits with the non-profit so that other youths may benefit."

The case reflects California's severe housing shortage and growing numbers of homeless people. Federal officials said last month that an uptick in the country's homeless population was driven entirely by a 16% increase in California, where the median sales price of a home is $500,000 and is even higher in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: agraff@sfgate.com.

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