This Week at Occupy Minneapolis Questions of Ownership Arise

Still finding this entire occupy movement very interesting I’ve continued visiting the Minneapolis occupation periodically. While little of interest has been happening this weekend the occupiers came up with a plan of action and decide to have a large number of their crew head down to a foreclosed home in southern Minneapolis and occupy it at the invitation of the owner. OK who owns the home is a rather murky question which I’ll explain in a bit.

As can be expected the police eventually arrived to evict the occupiers. I will commend the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on their general willingness to provide occupiers a means of leaving without arrest and avoiding the use of violence to get their point across. The entire home occupation was being broadcast on Occupy Minneapolis’s LiveStream (I check it sometimes to see if they’re doing anything interesting that could be worth blogging about). As I brought up the LiveStream I noticed the police were in the house so I watched as the cops booted everybody out of the home. MPD allowed anybody who wanted to leave without being arrest to do so and only one person, going by the name Panda, remained in the home. Expectedly the police did arrest him although I’m not sure on what charges (it may be trespassing, it may be breaking and entering, it may be attempted burglary, I honestly am not sure).

Another occupier, named Devin, decided to stand in front of the police car that Panda was being held in. When I saw this I thought that the action was a nice gesture but as nobody was standing behind the police car they’re just going to throw it in reverse, back out of there, and laugh at the Devin. I was wrong:

Judging by comments and attitudes towards the occupy movements I can guess that most of you reading this are likely against the whole idea. I’ve stated before that I’m glad people realize that they’re being fucked over and have finally stood up and screamed about it but also feel as though many of the occupiers don’t understand how they’re being fucked over. There are many members of Occupy who are protesting the existence of the Federal Reserve, a message I completely support and there are occupiers who are protesting the existence of capitalism, a message I completely oppose (although I realize most of them don’t actually understand what capitalism is and instead believe what we have in the United States qualifies therefore I see them as misguided).

Still I feel whether you support the occupiers or not you can agree the police driving their car into Devin was an unnecessary flexing of their muscles. Devin was actually arrested because, apparently, it’s a crime to get pushed around by a police cruiser. As the police had an unobstructed means of leaving (backing out) I feel the act of driving into Devin was excessive. It would have been one thing had the police arrested Devin before driving into him for obstruction of justice, while I wouldn’t have agreed with that either at least it would have been involved some decency. Instead MPD officers decided it would be a jolly good time to push him around on a snow-slick road to show off the fact a police cruiser can move a man without difficulty.

After these events concluded I ventured down to the home. By the time I arrived many of the occupiers had moved back into the dwelling, an act I found bold considering what just went down (I believed it would be unlikely that those in the home would avoid being arrested a second time). I had no such desire to face possible arrest so I stayed on the public sidewalk for the duration of my vist. This is when things got truly interesting in my opinion.

While the area was surrounded more or less by police cruisers none of the officers ever made a move for the house. One police cruiser finally drove down the street, stopped, and a couple of officers conversed with one of the occupiers. Parts of the conversation were overheard by me and I caught enough to learn that the owner of the building was in question. U.S. Bank performed the foreclosure but it seems they were unable to provide a title or promissory note demonstrating their ownership. This is a far more common occurrence in recent foreclosures than most people realize and it should be brought to light. Due to the number of people involved in the mortgage business and the constant shifting around of said mortgages the owner of many properties is in dispute. This lead to a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that effectively nullified some foreclosures.

Many foreclosures are being performed without any actual proof of ownership on behalf of the loaning agencies. People are being kicked out of dwellings by people who claim ownership but have no means of backing such claims. This practice is quite disgusting in my never humble opinion. From a libertarian perspective proof of ownership is crucial before actions can be taken to enforce property rights. If you find a discarded watch and somebody later claims that they are the rightful owners of the watch their statement should be taken with a gain of salt unless they can produce proof of ownership. The same goes for property foreclosures: if a loaning agency claims ownership of a home and wishes to kick the person(s) living there out because payments have not been made then the police should first demand proof of ownership from the agency before going through with the eviction. Proof of ownership has often not been required before evictions have been served and that needs to stop.

Once again I find the Occupy movement pointing out a fact of crucial importance without actually pointing it out. In the shouts of housing being a human right (in the argument of positive vs. negative rights I’m a firm believer in negative rights) many occupiers claim foreclosures should be illegal. What they usually don’t say is that these foreclosures are often illegal because the foreclosing agency can’t provide proof that they own the property. It would be far more beneficial if the occupiers presented this fact first and foremost instead of presenting arguments claiming home ownership is a human right. The former is a legal procedure which should be abided by in courts while the latter is a belief that directly conflicts with the founding principles of this country and thus is a difficult argument to make.

2 thoughts on “This Week at Occupy Minneapolis Questions of Ownership Arise”

    1. I would think the police would charge him with something more severe depending the outcome of investigating who owns the home. If US Bank is officially determined to the owner of the property then they could charge Panda with a wide range of offenses including breaking and entering and even attempted burglary of a dwelling. Obstruction would be something for him to hope for considering the situation.

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