3am Home Eviction in DeKalb Sparks Outrage
By Scott Brown, Special to the Atlanta Progressive News
(APN) DEKALB COUNTY — In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 02, 2012, over twenty deputies from the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department, under orders from Sheriff Thomas Brown, drilled the locks and kicked in the doors of the Christine Frazer’s home with guns drawn in order to evict four generations of family members.
Frazer, the homeowner, had fallen behind on her mortgage payments and was foreclosed upon in October 2011.
According to Frazer, her family members, including her 85-year-old mother and 3-year-old grandson, were told by officers to “act like it was a fire drill” and grab what they could and get out.
Frazer said they were not even allowed a shower before being escorted from her home of eighteen years at three in the morning.
She described the event as “literally a nightmare.”
Her three dogs were taken to the pound and all of her belongings were put out on the street, which police had completely closed off.
At a press conference in front of her belongings hours after the eviction, Frazer lamented, “I’ve been in this home eighteen years. My daughter was raised here. My husband died here. My grandson came home here. This is my home.”
“They came in as if they were executing a warrant to find drugs. It makes no sense,” Frazer’s lawyer, Joshua Davis, said of the eviction.
Sheriff Thomas Brown told Fox 5 television news that he attributed the unusual timing and the large number of officers used in the eviction to the presence of Occupy Atlanta protesters who had been camping in the yard for the past four months in an attempt to prevent what they described as an illegal eviction based on an illegal foreclosure.
Frazer has filed a lawsuit, which is currently pending in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against the company that foreclosed on her home last October, Investors One Corporation.
Ownership of the mortgage has changed three times in the past six months and, according to Frazer’s lawyer, the chain of title was broken when the previous owner of the mortgage, a bank based in Indiana, failed to uphold their legal obligation to transfer the title, rendering the foreclosure by Investors One Corporation fraudulent.
“There are judges that are in place that could have done a little research, if they’d done a little title search they’d have seen that something in the milk wasn’t clean,” Frazer said.
Frazer, 63, began to fall behind on her mortgage payments after losing her husband and her job in 2009. She has been unable to find a job ever since and is currently on early retirement social security.
Sheriff Brown told Fox 5 he gave the homeowner ample time to reach a settlement with the mortgage holder before serving the eviction notice.
Frazer said she tried to restructure the mortgage, but Investors One Corporation was uncooperative and intent on foreclosure, only offering to reinstate the loan if she was able to pay 20,000 dollars in cash. Currently she has paid over 240,000 dollars on the mortgage on a house currently appraised at only 40,000 dollars.
On Monday, May 07, 2012, in response to the early morning eviction ordered by Sheriff Thomas Brown, Occupy Atlanta held a protest in front of the Dekalb County Sheriff’s office.
At one point, more protesters pulled up in a van full of Frazer’s belongings, and Occupy Atlanta unloaded mattresses, furniture, and bags of other items that deputies had left on the curb nearly one week prior and piled them in front of the doors to the Sheriff’s Office, along with signs reading “Fraudclosure” and “Wall St. criminals are not convicted. The people are evicted.”
Standing before a pile of her belongings in front of the Sheriff’s Office during a press conference, Frazer said, “This is not just about me and my family, this is about families across America.”
Frazer is certainly not alone in her struggle to keep her home. According to Corelogic, Inc., a company specializing in financial analysis, over 1.4 million homes in the US are currently in the foreclosure process, and states like Georgia have been ground zero in the housing crisis.
A recent Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report shows Metro Atlanta home prices fell 17.3 percent between February 2011 and February 2012, a fact that is fueling the continuing foreclosure crisis in the state.
Occupy Atlanta has taken up home defense as a tactic for combating what protesters view as unfair and illegal practices by banks and the financial industry as a whole.
Leila Abadir, one of the Occupy Atlanta protesters who had been camping on the lawn at the Frazer household, says the fight is not over. Occupy Atlanta will continue to assist the Frazer family in finding proper housing, she said.
They will also keep working to shed light on what she believes to be unethical and potentially criminal activity on the part of Investors One Corporation.
According to Fox 5, after most of the protesters left the sheriff’s office, police surrounded a remaining protester’s vehicle, which they impounded for possible evidence. They issued two citations to two people for littering and arrested one of them because he did not have identification on him.