‘Take Back the Land’: Woman Arrested for Videotaping Police…Has a Long HistTHIS IS A FOLLOW UP THE THE LL POST A CPL DAYS AGO
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On Wednesday The Blaze reported about a woman who was arrested while filming police perform a seemingly routine traffic stop from her own front yard. After Emily Good was arrested, her companion, Ryan Acuff, continued filming the incident. Now, with Good’s video going viral, her plight has garnered media attention and a flurry of support from various advocacy groups.
‘Most reports about Good thus far, mention her involvement with an eviction and foreclosure watchdog group in the Rochester area — and since police are often involved at the eviction stage of the foreclosure process, one could infer that Good hasn’t always had the best rapport with law enforcement.
And if an event to “defend Emily,” organized by Acuff’s group “CopWatch” is any indication, that just might be the case.
Now watch another Good-filmed video taken at the event showing police dole out parking citations to the attendees. Apparently, law enforcement agents aren’t fans of the “Cop Watch” crowd
So who, exactly, are Emily Good and Ryan Acuff? The plot thickens slightly when we examine the two activists’ involvement in an eerily Marxist-sounding “movement” called “Take Back the Land,” whose mission is to seize foreclosed land and property and “return it” to the public good.
That’s right – private property must not be sold “for profit,” but rather, be controlled by the “collective.”
In fact, the movement’s charter literally calls for a “right of return” for all displaced, low income “people of color.” But a return to what, exactly? In this case, any and every foreclosed home, building, or plot of land the “community” wants
Naturally, one might wonder how you “return” property to someone to whom it never belonged in the first place.
From Take Back the Land’s charter:
Take Back the Land Rochester believes that housing is a human right, not a commodity. We believe that land and housing should be controlled by the community, not the banks. In order to elevate housing to a human right and secure community control over land we defend people from foreclosure-related evictions and assist homeless people to move into vacant, bank-owned homes. In this process we are wresting land from the control of the banks and turning it back to our community in the form of community land trusts—where land can be taken off the speculative market. As long as housing occurs at the whim of the banks and the market homelessness and poverty will plague our community forever. In short, housing should be for people not for profit. That‘s why we’re taking back the land!
Some might take issue with the idea of a rogue community-organizing group “wresting” property from bank control in order to turn that property over to “community land trusts,” where it can never be used or sold by its rightful owners.
Strangely, organizations like Take Back the Land typically consider eminent domain a great ill, yet somehow see their own actions justifiable.
Acuff, who believes “housing is a human right,” serves as a community organizer for Take Back the Land Rochester. In his effort to “liberate” foreclosed homes from the profit-hungry banks, Acuff moves the low-income families into vacant, foreclosed homes in the area to squat there indefinitely. In addition, Acuff and Good stage protests at soon to be repossessed homes, often barring police from entering to secure the property.
During a now locally-infamous stand-off at 9 Ravenwood Ave., Good was arrested when she rushed the front door in an attempt to thwart police from entering the residence. Still, that hasn’t kept her from posting merrily on her Facebook page:
“Bring some lunchtime love to Ravenwood Ave tomorrow for a barbecue with the woman Van Jones calls “the Rosa Parks of the foreclosure crisis.” Six weeks of home occupation=time for celebration! (vigilant celebrating).”
Likewise, Acuff isn’t shy about his disregard for the illegality of enabling squatters to take over bank-owned homes. In a recent CNNMoney interview, Acuff stated that he doesn’t quite care about what’s “legal and illegal” as much as he cares about what’s “moral or immoral.” Clearly.
But Acuff is merely keeping in line with Take Back the Lands stated missions, which include:
Vacant foreclosed and government owned land. Now that “boom” times are over, vacant land must now be returned to the common good.
The right to return. Whether through gentrification, public housing demolition or the combination of natural disasters and government actions, those forced to leave their long-time communities must have the right to return.
But doesn’t every person, regardless of personal circumstance, already have that right? There are no laws in place stopping a particular individual from living anywhere he or she chooses. So does this “right to return” suggest that “gentrified” communities now owe people who cannot afford to live there free housing? Or does it go so far as to imply that neighborhoods successfully delivered from poverty and degradation should actually revert to it?
On the broader scale, Take Back the Land seeks to legislate its goals and objectives by winning “a series of policy shifts,” where “community control over land and housing” would become law.
Another objective of the movement, according to its charter, is to “build and strengthen Alternative Democratic Institutions.” One shudders to think just what, exactly, that means…
So was Good just an innocent victim of false arrest when she filmed that fateful traffic stop back in May, or did she in fact do what the arresting officer in the video suggests — and that’s say something provocative prior to filming, presumably to instigate a hostile situation from the get-go?
Are Good and Acuff simply agitators whose mission is to make law enforcement look bad at all cost? What say you?
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