#Squat #Chicago: Drop the Charges on The Swamp 5

On the 11th of May, five of our friends were arrested in an illegal eviction carried out by the Chicago Police Department under orders from management company Barnett Capital, “an alternative investment firm focusing in real estate, asset-based financing, and equipment leasing”. Barnett Capital is one of the main driving forces in the process of displacement and gentrification currently facing the Black & Brown communities of Little Village and Lawndale.

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Originally published by Trespass Network

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Please help our friends who were arrested today and demand that Barnett Capital drop the charges immediately, stop the intimidation, harassement, and illegal evictions taking place at our home @ 2620-2622 West Cermak Road.

Our home, affectionately known to some as Swamp 9 / The Compound / Texas, is a haven and safer place for people in the community who have faced chronic homelessness and eviction- a multi generetional campaign that is home to people of many identities and backgrounds who continue asking some fundamental questions about the enduring legacies of colonialism: who’s land are we on and how can we change the way we relate to the land we occupy?

Please call the building managers and ask for building Leslie Pohren or Steve Mallon at Barnett Capital at 224-205-7266 or 847-656-1104 and stand with us in solidarity against the lords of the land. A sample script of what you can say reads:

“Hello, my name is_______________, a community member and supporter of the tenents of the building at 2622-2620 West Cermak Road in Chicago. Your company is engaging in illegal lock outs, illegal evictions, and illegal damage to the property of legal tenants. Their legal team has made numerous attempts to solve this housing issue in a legal and civil manner whereas your company has done the complete opposite. Our community supports these tenents and the law supports them. Stop the harassment, stop stealing their belongings, and stop this illegal process.”

You can also Tweet at Leslie Pohren: @lmpohren

Initial conversations with our legal team and legal representatives from Barnett Capital agreed to a quiet and peaceful resolution to the civil housing issues unfolding at 2622-2620 West Cermak on or around May 4th, 2017. While we as tenents have been forthcoming and communicative with Barnett Capital (through our legal representatives), Barnett Capital now refuses to communicate with us or our attorneys, instead engaging in a process of intimidation, illegal lockouts, and illegaly cutting off electric service to certain units- all in an effort to intimidate us into leaving our homes to make way for their luxury condos.

Not this time. We will defend & take back the land.

In solidarity,

The Spirit of Pantanotepec.

_\ | /_

Our legal team has communicated the following to Barnett Capital in an effort to remain lawful and within our rights as tenents:

Please be advised that the Chicago Landlord-Tenant Ordinance (Municipal Code of Chicago, Section 5-12-080 et seq.) provides that self-help evictions–those not following procedures set forth in the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq.) performed pursuant to a court order and by the Cook County Sheriff–are illegal. Illegal activities include changing locks, removing doors, breaking locks and doors, threatening tenants, removing personal property, interfering with utilities, and many other actions.

I understand that Barnett Capital personnel have threatened tenants with calling the police. To the contrary, the CRLTO provides, in mandatory language, that the Chicago Police Department investigate reports of illegal lockouts. 5-12-160. In addition, the fact that Barnett Capital, which employs several attorneys has made this threat raises serious question about whether those attorneys are abiding by the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibit threatening criminal prosecution to gain an advantage in a civil matter. Illinois Rule 1.2(e).

Barnett Capital has already violated the CRLTO in several respects. I urge you to avoid committing further illegal actions. Hopefully, the tenants can reach some agreement to settle their claims against you in a reasonable manner. However, this is doubtful if their rights continue to be violated.

I used FEDA and CRLTO interchangeably during our conversation; FEDA more clearly allows no self-help evictions (regardless of tenancy; even as to a squatter).

In support of my comment that the illegal lockout provisions apply regardless of “tenant” status, here is one case:

…no person has the right to take possession, by force, of premises occupied or possessed by another, even though such person may be justly entitled to such possession. The forcible entry and detainer statute provides the complete remedy at law for settling such disputes. Persons seeking possession must use this remedy rather than use force. Ross v. Youngman (1906), 125 Ill.App. 494, 496, citing Phelps v. Randolph (1893).

Here’s an excerpt from a brief in which people who were, without any doubt, “squatters” prevailed:

Defendant cites People v. Evansfor the proposition that “[t]he purpose of the FED[A] ‘is to adjudicate only the right to possession’ of real property.” Id. Significantly, Defendant does not include the conjoined clause of this sentence in their quotation. The full sentence reads, “The purpose of the statute is to adjudicate only the right to possession, and to prevent breaches of the peace by forcing aggrieved persons to assert their rights peaceably through the courts.” People v. Evans, 163 Ill. App. 3d 561, 564. (1st Dist. 1987) (emphasis provided). In context, it is clear that the court in Evans considered the FEDA to not only be concerned with disputes of possession, but equally concerned with resolving those disputes in a peaceable manner. Mr. xxxxxx and Ms. xxxxxxxx assert that having a member of the Chicago police department enter the Home through a window with his gun drawn is not the peaceable manner contemplated by the Evans court or the framers of the FEDA.
Defendant repeatedly states that Mr. xxxxxx and Ms. xxxxxx had “no right to possession,” and that, therefore, they are relieved of their responsibility to follow proper procedure for evictions. Presumably most, if not all, persons who bring suit under the FEDA assert the very same thing. However, the law is there to prevent them from resorting to self-help. “[N]o person has the right to take possession, by force, of premises occupied or possessed by another, even though such person may be justly entitled to such possession. The forcible entry and detainer statute provides the complete remedy at law for settling such disputes. Persons seeking possession must use this remedy rather than use force.” People v. Evans, 163 Ill. App. 3d 561, 564 (1st Dist. 1987).

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