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Police Said They Wouldn’t Be “Confrontational.” Then They Came in Riot Gear to Arrest Homeless Moms.

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Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group/AP

Before dawn on Tuesday, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office descended on a residential block in West Oakland with armored vehicles, guns drawn. The thirty-some officers—including a contingent in military-style fatigues and helmets—showed up not to respond to a riot or the apocalypse, but rather to enforce the eviction of a handful of mothers and their children, a group who has turned their occupation of a house into a (peaceful) protest movement under the banner Moms 4 Housing.

Did you know the Alameda County Sherrif’s office has a tank and soldiers with AR-15s? They’re out here evicting and arresting the @moms4housing at 5am. There is nothing happening at 2928 Magnolia St that justifies this level of force. pic.twitter.com/5zBEgwPVIl

— East Bay DSA 🌹 (@DSAEastBay) January 14, 2020

As I reported last month, the moms started squatting in a vacant home on Magnolia Street in November and immediately made their presence known. They accused the owner, Wedgewood Property Management, of exacerbating the housing crisis rocking the Bay Area through its speculative real estate practices, and they asked the house-flipping company to turn the house back over to the community. The women’s message struck a chord with local residents fed up with skyrocketing rents and homelessness. (Oakland’s homeless population shot up by 47 percent in just two years.)

Hundreds of volunteers and community supporters mobilized over the........

© Mother Jones