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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Oakland's Safehouse Experience Violent Attack After Attempted Unlawful Eviction
This afternoon, owners of 3277 Martin Luther King Blvd in Oakland attempted to unlawfully evict it's residents. After OPD deemed the situation a civil matter to be solved in court, owners broke through blockades into the house where they assault occupiers and damaged property. OPD came back to the house several hours later and arrested one of the homeowners on assault charges. Tenants and community supporters continue to occupy the Safehouse after being threatened with more violence tonight and in the near future. A video of the homeowners assaulting occupiers is linked.
Today, December 2, 2010, the tenants of the Safehouse at 3277 Martin Luther King Blvd, Oakland, with supporters in the community blockaded entrances to the building in preparation for the owners' threats of violence towards them. At 12:45, the owners arrived with the intent to carry out their unlawful eviction (the Safehouse tenants occupied the building lawfully under California civil code 1006). The owners were accompanied by the OPD, but after assessing the situation, the police made the owners aware of the legalities of the situation, and that they could not lawfully remove the tenants.
At 1:15, when OPD left the scene, the 4 of the 8 owners and 4 of their associates hopped the fence, forcefully broke through barricades and entered the home, where they they began a rampage on the members of the house. Their verbal belligerence was paired with equally intense physical violence. The owners and accomplices swarmed the house with boards and hammers, throwing furniture and assaulting occupiers. Upon entering the kitchen, one owner hurled handfuls of knives at a group of occupiers. One occupier was slapped in the face; another was punched in the arm. After the hard barricades were broken, occupiers improvised soft barricades to obstruct entrances. In an attempt to break through the soft barricade, one accomplice stomped repeatedly on blockaders' heads, resulting in a concussion. 2 more accomplices waited outside of the house verbally assaulting people in the community that had arrived for support. Supporters were repeatedly called "Honkey" and "Faggot" and threatened with physical violence.
At 3:00, police arrived and restrained one of the owners, who is now being charged with assault. The other owners and accomplices fled the scene, yelling, "We'll be back tonight!" The Safehouse has decided to stay at their home and reinforce blockades against further threats of intrusion and emmenant violence.
For months, the residents of 3277 Martin Luther Kind Blvd have been renovating and making a home of the abandoned building. All 8 owners of the home have been made aware, and passively allowed the tenants to live in and fix the building. Their concerns were vague, and their visits infrequent. On the eve of Thanksgiving, one owner told several residents that they had 8 days to leave, which is unlawful without a just cause. Being that he acknowledged, allowed, and did nothing or mentioned no objections beforehand, the eviction is a civil matter which must be solved through the court system. After being threatened with violence, however, it seems that the residents of Safehouse have more then "the law" to put themselves against.
Safehouse is looking for moral, legal, and personal support during these tough times of defending their home against the forces of the volatile owner and the tedious trudging of the courts. The cooperation, aide, and support of the community will mean the difference of yet another house vanished to the cause of currency, and another stronghold of counterculture, a center of strength for those who choose to change this world for the better.