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SWAT team raids Ohio home to enforce eviction

Defenders released, stay strong, the struggle continues

Published May 13, 2010 9:12 PM

Home defender Keith Sadler and six supporters are out of jail after their arrest during a home invasion and forced eviction by the Wood County SWAT team early May 7. While the paramilitary police stormed Sadler’s home, about 30 supporters rallied outside in the pouring rain chanting, “Keith’s house!” The SWAT home invasion and the arrests were recorded and photographed.

Community supports efforts to save home
from foreclosure.
WW photo: Bryan G. Pfeifer

Supporters, led by the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League, followed those arrested to the Woods County jail and continued to demonstrate. They were joined by the Cleveland chapter of the Bail Out the People Movement; Fight Imperialism, Stand Together members from Cleveland; and a rank-and-file United Auto Workers member. They demanded the immediate release of the “Stony Ridge Seven,” that all seven be fed their vegan diet, that an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions be declared throughout the U.S., and that the bankers and other Wall Street speculators who caused the foreclosure and eviction crisis be arrested, not the people.

The Seven were released on their own recognizance after being charged with “trespass” and “obstruction of justice.”

Cops remove home defenders.

A potluck and meeting in Bowling Green, Ohio, took place May 7. This had originally been planned as a potluck and speakout rally at Sadler’s home. Ongoing plans to continue the struggle, discussed at the meeting, will be announced soon.

For now supporters are encouraged to pack the Perrysburg Municipal Court at 300 Walnut Street, Perrysburg, Ohio, on May 17 at 9:30 a.m. for a pre-trial hearing for the Stony Ridge Seven.

Moratorium NOW!

The “Stony Ridge Seven” had barricaded themselves in Sadler’s home since Sunday, May 2 in protest of the bank’s foreclosure of his home of 20 years.

A longtime UAW member in various manufacturing plants, Sadler was unable to work after a repetitive strain injury became acute in July 2008. After being out of work for some time due to his injury and two surgeries on his right hand, Sadler’s income decreased, and thus it became a severe challenge for him to meet his mortgage payments.

The bank foreclosed on his home in 2009 and refused any loan modification. Despite delaying court proceedings through various means and attempting to procure legal aid assistance, Sadler’s home was sold to the bank at a sheriff’s sale in January 2010. Sadler was thereafter served with a notice of eviction for midnight, May 2.

Instead of submitting quietly, Sadler and other members of the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League barricaded themselves in the house until the SWAT team dragged them out. They believe that if the big banks can get a bailout, so can the people. They want an indefinite moratorium on all foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs — now!

During his home defense, Sadler and his supporters received a groundswell of support from individuals and organizations such as Take Back the Land, Moratorium NOW!, the Bail Out the People Movement, UAW and other union members and from the community.

Supporters held a protest at the State Bank and Trust on May 5. Michael Moore posted the UStream live feed and media coverage on his website. Supporters from across the U.S. and beyond have been and are sending solidarity messages through Twitter. During the home defense, messages were posted on the UStream live feed and watched by people around the globe. This was critical in spreading the word of the home defense and for garnering support.

Though Sadler’s home’s electric power was cut May 5 — many suspect by police officials — supporters quickly helped restore power to his home. They also helped provide alternative sources of energy and continually dropped off food and other needed supplies.

Sadler told supporters during his home defense: “I basically did everything within the system to save my house and it all came to nothing. We are taking a stand. We are drawing a line in the sand and saying, ‘Enough is enough!’ We’re standing up and we hope others will too. We want an indefinite moratorium on all foreclosures. Having people’s homes stolen right out from under them by the banks is not acceptable. We must fight back.”

Sadler’s spokesperson, Lance Crandall, asks that people continue to call the bank and the sheriff to demand that all charges be dropped. For more information about ongoing activities, call: 419-309-7040.

Local bank branch: 419-874-2090

Bank HQ: 419-783-8950

Wood County sheriff’s office: 419-354-9001; sheriff’s direct line: 419-354-9008; sheriff’s personal e-mail: [email protected]