Two arrested as protesters 'occupy' U lecturer's house

Two people were arrested Saturday night after a group of Occupy Minnesota protesters moved from downtown Minneapolis to a foreclosed house in south Minneapolis. Police have said more arrests could be coming.

About six hours after the group relocated to the house in the Corcoran neighborhood, Minneapolis police swept through around 6 p.m. and arrested Michael Anthony Bounds, 19, and Devin Wynn-Shemanek, 19.

As the police went through the house and started boarding up its windows, a group of protesters surrounded the house, linking arms and chanting: “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out! Stop foreclosures now!”

Protesters flooded back into the house after police left the scene.

The arrests came just days after 11 protesters were arrested Thursday for blocking traffic on the 10th Avenue Bridge during a small demonstration on the University of Minnesota campus.

Bounds was booked into Hennepin County Jail on probable cause of burglary. Information on Wynn-Shemanek’s potential charges was not available.

A YouTube video taken from OccupyMN’s live video stream shows Wynn-Shemanek standing in front of a squad car as it drives away from the house. The car pushed him, still standing, several feet down the block before officers stepped out and arrested him on the car’s hood.

As of 9 p.m. Saturday, more than 50 protesters were holed up in the house, empty save for a handful of couches and cots. The protesters quickly divided into committees to address how to occupy the property.

Broadcasted on the OccupyMN livestream, University anthropology lecturer Sara Kaiser thanked the protesters “who decided to defend my house.”

It’s unclear when Kaiser’s home was foreclosed upon, and if the protesters have the legal right to stay inside the empty house. According to Hennepin County property data, U.S. Bank currently owns the house, but Minneapolis property data still lists Kaiser as the owner.

A Minneapolis Police Department sergeant on the scene said the occupation was illegal, and that officers might arrest more people on grounds of trespassing and burglary.

Neighbor Mark Edwards said that Kaiser hasn’t lived in the house since June 2010.

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So who's pressing charges--the police?

Glad you did an article on the topic, because the TV news seemed to be confused as to what was going on and who owned the house.  They talked about the bank being the homeowner, and about a realtor calling police, and then they interviewed the former homeowner who actually is listed as the owner in the City's records.  Even though technically the banks own all of our homes (or most of our homes) I can't recall ever when they titled them as "homeowner" as it is up to you and me to maintain the properties, comply with city ordinances, and pay the taxes.

It seems weird to me that the police are just arresting people even when the homeowner, the person listed as the owner, invited them to be there.  So who is pressing the charges--the police, the realtor, US Bank?  This is one of the problems with the foreclosure mess as the banks seem to carelessly boot people out and who cares about the consequences to the neighborhoods, to the people who lived there, to the properties themselves as they fall into disarray and disrepair.

The foreclosures need to stop, at least the kicking out of people into the streets, until the public can be assured that what they are doing is even legal and until paperwork can be produced to an arresting officer that shows the banks own these homes.  I rather see the police kicking in the doors of the banks downtown demanding this type of paperwork, than throwing some kids in jail  protesting the issue.  If the banks want the police to be doing this type of work, maybe they need to give back some of that (taxpayer) bailout money to cover the costs?