FLORISSANT (KMOX) – A man was dragged from his foreclosed home by police officers Monday morning, while pleading for just a little more time from the sheriff.
In the minutes and hours before his eviction, Joseph Colvin paced around his home at 26 Cedar Park Dr., taking one last look at his living room and his back deck. Two cats meowed inside, while two dogs barked and chased each other in the backyard.
He said that each time he submitted paperwork to U.S. Bank, it was later deemed to be not received by the company. Colvin had been laid-off as an analyst at Bank of America and then as an installer for AT&T. He told KMOX that he had since secured a job at a pizza restaurant, which didn’t pay nearly enough.
The problems with his mortgage, he said, began in October, 2009 and the eviction notice was posted last Wednesday.
“If they’re not willing to negotiate, then how can we come to a win-win solution?” he told KMOX, claiming that the bank prematurely terminated the Loss Mitigation process.
He was joined at his home early Monday by a half-dozen friends and/or self-described “home defenders,” who successfully delayed an eviction in St. Louis in September.
The group was standing in the front yard when six Florissant police cars pulled up. Officers and the sheriff’s department representative asked them to move away from the front door and to the sidewalk.
Florissant police say evictions are usually handled by the sheriff, but they became involved because of the presence of the “home defender” protesters.
Spokesman and Officer Andy Haarmann said when police arrived they told the protesters to leave the property and not interfere with the carrying out of the court order for eviction. By law, court orders must be carried out by police and they do not have discretion to ignore them because of extenuating circumstances, Haarmann said.
Five of the six demonstrators obeyed and moved to the sidewalk, but a sixth protester stated he wanted to be arrested and blocked the house’s front door. He was arrested without incident.
What the video doesn’t show, because the KMOX reporter was not recording at that point, is an officer explaining to the homeowner at the front door that he needed to leave. Haarmann said the discussion was calm and showed a police willingness to carry out the court order without an arrest, but the homeowner resisted.
Colvin indicated that he was on the phone with U.S. Bank and wanted to finish the call before considering leaving. He also said he wanted to re-enter the house to get his animals.
“He was told he would be placed under arrest for refusing to comply with a court order,” Officer Haarmann said, “He was told to put his arms behind his back, but he refused.”
Haarmann claims that Colvin struggled with the officer and caused him to fall to the ground.
As for the refusal to let Colvin go back in and get his pets, Harmon said it is standard procedure to not let someone being evicted go back in the home to get a dog, because the situation could get more complicated than keeping the person outside the house and getting the pets separately.
Colvin is charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor; resisting arrest; interfering with a judicial order and property damage.
His friend Dan Cohn watched it happen:
“They dragged him to the car, and at this time he was still on the phone with U.S. Bank,” Cohn said. “From what I could hear, they might not have had some of the papers that they needed to go through” with the eviction and Colvin was trying to get the bank to explain that to the sheriff’s department, allowing him more time.
Florissant animal control workers rounded up his dogs and cats. A moving crew stood by to empty the house of his belongings.
St. Louis County Councilman Hazel Erby told KMOX that she and her office had been in contact with Colvin in the past couple of days and had given him advice. She said the circumstances surrounding his eviction “troubles” her.
U.S. Bank issued a statement saying:
“U.S. Bank has always regarded foreclosure as the last resort, and have worked with thousands of borrowers across the country to modify their mortgages and keep them in their homes. Since January 2011, through government and U.S. Bank programs, we have modified or refinanced nearly 400,000 loans.
“Privacy rules prevent us from sharing details of Mr. Colvin’s account, however I can tell you that the foreclosure sale on Mr. Colvin’s home occurred in April 2011, roughly 18 months ago. We’ve worked with him to find a way to keep him in his home. Unfortunately, we were not able to find a solution.”
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