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Oakland cops bring out assault rifles and armored vehicles to evict 4 Black homeless mothers

Oakland cops bring out assault rifles and armored vehicles to evict 4 Black homeless mothers

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Heavily armed police officers showed up with assault rifles and armored vehicles to forcibly evict several homeless mothers and their children from an otherwise unoccupied home in West Oakland earlier today, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The SWAT-like squad of officers arrived around 5:15 AM to remove the harmless women and children seeking shelter and activists are understandably outraged.

Three of the four women who were living in the house were present for the raid and were arrested, as well as a man found outside. They are 25-year-old Jesse Turner, 46 year-year-old Tolani King, and 38-year-old Misty Cross. The gentleman was 28-year-old Walter Baker.

The women had been occupying the building for the past few months and are part of the group Moms 4 Housing, an organization that pushes for housing as an essential right and which advocates for reclaiming vacant houses from “the big banks and real estate speculators.” This eviction came after a judge ruled that the mothers in question had no legal right to stay in the house and must be evicted.

Authorities sent in a robot to inspect the house before entering and after the eviction was complete, police boarded up the house with plywood.

“They came in like an Army for mothers and babies. We have the right to housing. This is just the beginning,” said Dominique Walker, who leads the group.

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The police were met outside the house with demonstrators chanting for the release of the mothers. “If you are not angry, you are not paying attention. They should not be in handcuffs right now for demanding to shelter their children. This is insane!” said activist Carole Fife.

Many of the activists remained even after the women were evicted and banners were unfurled in support of the mothers. The Twitter account for Moms 4 Housing has shared images and videos of the police presence as well as those who showed up in support of the moms. Numerous other accounts have also been sharing images and clips in solidarity.

The house is owned by Wedgewood Properties. The company has stated that it intends to help the mothers afford temporary housing as well as the cost of moving. Eventually, Wedgewood hopes to fix up the house and sell it on the market with an eye towards sharing the profits with Shelter 37, a nonprofit whose website describes its goal as seeking “to improve the overall well being of children and young adults whose lives have been affected or disrupted by crime, violence, or abandonment and as a result, are more at-risk of turning to gangs, crime, drugs, or becoming withdrawn, antisocial, or socially inept.”

Dominique Walker, who lived in the house but who wasn’t present for the raid, isn’t impressed by Wedgewood’s token offer and called it an “insult.”

“That’s no offer. We offered to buy the house — that’s what we wanted to do,” said Walker. “This is the type of forces that we are up against when we are just trying to survive. We are just trying to live. We just want shelter for our children, and if we have to go to jail for that, then take me,” she added.

This incident represents just the latest overreach of an increasingly militarized police presence in the United States. Clearly, these women were not a threat and the decision to employ such excessive armaments against them is part of a disturbing trend that can only be described as the mobilization of state forces against the must vulnerable members of society.

If you’re outraged as you should be, consider donating to Moms 4 Housing here.

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