In the News

Jun 20, 2015

Rochester Police Ransom Homeowner’s Daughter to Coerce Him Out of His Home During Bank Eviction


7 People Arrested Defending Webster Ave Family from Eviction

audreyarrestweb

A white Rochester police Sergeant orders two black cops to arrest Audrey Woods. Once Audrey is taking off the scene, the police use her as collateral for negotations to remove the homeowner from the home.

On the morning of June 17, 2015, MidFirst Bank, the Rochester City Marshal, and 15-20 Rochester police forcefully evicted Joe Woods and his family from their longtime home of 25 years at 394 Webster Ave, Rochester, NY 14614.  Mr. Woods was willing and able to pay, but instead of working out a solution, the Rochester's government had their police team up with another corporate bank to evict another black family. Most disturbing, the Rochester police took away Mr. Woods' daugther as an exhtoration tactic in order to negotiate him leaving his home.  To execute the eviction, police arrested 7 people, including one family member and 6 home defenders, chanting “Housing is a Human Right.”

 

Category: General
Posted by: adetomiadeduro

audreyarrestwebA white Rochester police Sergeant orders two black cops to arrest Audrey Woods. Once Audrey is taking off the scene, the police use her as collateral for negotations to remove the homeowner from the home.

 

7 People Arrested Defending Webster Ave Family from Eviction

On the morning of June 17, 2015, MidFirst Bank, the Rochester City Marshal, and 15-20 Rochester police forcefully evicted Joe Woods and his family from their longtime home of 25 years at 394 Webster Ave, Rochester, NY 14614.  Mr. Woods was willing and able to pay, but instead of working out a solution, the Rochester's government had their police team up with another corporate bank to evict another black family. To execute the eviction, police arrested 7 people, including one family member and 6 home defenders, chanting “Housing is a Human Right.”

In September 2013, the Woods family successfully defended their home from a bank eviction. After protests, and the support of community members who were prepared to engage in civil disobedience to defend the human right to housing, MidFirst Bank and Rochester Police backed down. Unfortuntately, instead of assisting the family to find a permanent solution so they could stay in their house, the City of Rochester and the Rochester police escalated their eviction tactics to remove the family.

Police Used Extortion Tactic to Escalate and Execute the Eviction 

On the morning of June 17, 2015, the Rochester Police escalated their tactics by using one of Joe’s daughters as collateral to coerce him to leave his home. Twenty year old Audrey awoke to find police surrounding her house. She exited to see what was going on, and then was arrested when attempting to re-enter her home. The police then used Audrey as a bargaining chip to remove Joe and the rest of his family.

According to Mr. Woods, who was planning on staying in his home, the police demanded he leave his home in exchange for releasing his daughter. "The police told me that if I left my home, they would realese my daugther" explained Mr. Woods.  Recognizing a volatile situation and not wanting his daughter harmed by the police, Mr. Woods agreed to vacate the house.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines 'ransom' as a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone in captivity. The Rochester Police held Audrey for ransom in a civil matter between Joe Woods and a commercial entity headquartered in Oklahoma. Audrey was released after Mr. Woods left the house but still was still charged by police.

After Audrey's arrest, Joe's two other daughters, who also left the house to see what was going on, were allowed back in to retrieve their belongings. In addition many white supporters went on and off the property without arrest at that point. This clearly indicated that Audrey's arrest was not about going back into her houase. She was arrested with the sole purpose of holding her as a hostage for ransom to help the police enforce the will of a bank.

This immoral manipulation of Joe’s instinct to protect his children is a significant escalation of police tactics used to displace black families. The Rochester police showed that they are capable of going to unconscionable lengths to support bank displacement of families and suppress their right to housing. Six other supporters were arrested for crossing the police barrier. Two had chained themselves to the front porch via a concrete lockbox, and were removed after the police sawed into the the concrete. Those arrested were following the adage, “When you come for one of our neighbors, you come for all of us.”


Demands

Take Back the Land Rochester is calling for:

1.

A moratorium on police enforced bank evictions. The City of Rochester must insist that banks be partners in negotiating to keep homeowners in their homes, rather than profiteers looking for financial benefit.

2.
An independent dual-track investigation into allegations of suppression of civil rights and the human right to housing for the Woods family and other struggling homeowners. An investigation into the underlying social, racial, and economic conditions that lead to police abuse and displacement of families of color.

3.
Community control over land in the form of community land trusts which will stem the trend of mass displacement and unaffordable housing.
In order to stem the trend of police abuses around displacement and other forms of racial profiling, community control over the police in form of a Civilian Control Board of the Rochester Police which has power to set priorities, policies, and practices.
 

 

Second Eviction Defense

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