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Two homeless mothers and two male supporters were arrested on misdemeanor obstructing offenses during the Jan. 14 eviction of the group Moms 4 Housing that had been occupying a home in West Oakland since November, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
The four people who were arrested at the house at 2928 Magnolia St. shortly before 6 a.m. were identified as mothers Tolani King, 46, and Misty Cross, 38, and supporters Jesse Turner, 25, and Walter Baker, 28.
They were booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and released later in the day after posting $5,000 bail each, according to jail records.
A GoFundMe account to raise money to pay for their bail had raised at least $43,000 as of Thursday.
Cross and Baker were arraigned at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin on Thursday, and King and Turner are scheduled to be arraigned at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland at 9 a.m. on Feb. 13.
The Southern California-based real estate investment firm Wedgewood Properties bought the house, which had been vacant for two years, at a foreclosure auction on July 31.
King, Cross and four other homeless mothers, including Dominique Walker, 34, and Sameerah Karim, moved into the house without permission on Nov. 18 to call attention to Oakland’s homelessness crisis and to vacant investor-owned homes in the city.
But an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Jan. 10 that the women had no valid claim of possession of the house and ordered that they be evicted within five days.
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said the eviction was “not your typical eviction,” given the high amount of community and media interest in the occupation of the house.
Kelly said the doors of the house had been fortified by the group, prompting deputies to use a ram to enter. Inside, the two women and man agreed to be arrested peacefully, he said.
The Moms 4 Housing group live-streamed their eviction on Facebook.
Walker said in a statement following the eviction and the arrests, “We’ve heard from people all over the world who are inspired by our nonviolent civil disobedience. People who say that our action has shifted their perspective and helped them understand that housing is a human right. We’ve built a movement of thousands of Oaklanders who showed up at a moment’s notice to reject police violence and advocate for homes for families.
Walker said, “This isn’t over, and it won’t be over until everyone in the Oakland community has a safe and dignified place to live.”
Wedgewood spokesman Sam Singer said the company “is pleased the illegal occupation of its Oakland home has ended peacefully.”
Singer said the company plans to work with the nonprofit Shelter 37 to renovate the house and will be “giving opportunities to at-risk Oakland youths and splitting the profits with the nonprofit so that other youths may benefit.”
He said, “The solution to Oakland’s housing crisis is not the redistribution of citizens’ homes through illegal break-ins and seizures by squatters.”