DUBLIN (CBS SF) – After their Tuesday afternoon release from jail, the two homeless mothers arrested during the early Tuesday morning eviction of the group Moms 4 Housing said they would return to the West Oakland home for what they called a “celebration.”
The four people who were arrested at the house at 2928 Magnolia St. shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday were identified as mothers Tolani King, 46, and Misty Cross, 38, and supporters Jesse Turner, 25, and Walter Baker, 28.
The four people were booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on misdemeanor obstructing offenses. All four were released later in the day after posting $5,000 bail each, according to jail records.
Activists remained outside late into Tuesday evening. Surrounded by supporters, the Moms 4 Housing returned to the home and held a barbecue outside the fences while they contemplated their next move.
“What’s next? I don’t know. I don’t really know where I’m sleeping at tonight,” said King.
Moms 4 Housing leaders King and Cross were elated to be out of jail Tuesday afternoon. They also promised their movement would continue.
“Man, I’m fighting this fight, period!” yelled Cross moments after exiting Santa Rita Jail.
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When asked what she would say to those who might question the legality of occupying the vacant West Oakland home for two months, Cross replied, “They don’t see the bigger picture in this movement. I would say that they need to open their eyes and wake up to see what’s happening. That’s what I would say to them. It’s not a joke. It’s not a game. This could be your kid.”
Cross said the activists with Moms 4 Housing would return to 2928 Magnolia Street immediately after their release, despite the house being fenced in and its doors and windows being boarded up.
The Moms 4 Housing group threw a party outside the fence surrounding the home Tuesday night. The activists said they wanted to celebrate the movement they created to raise awareness about the Bay Area’s housing crisis.
In one post on Twitter, the group invited supporters to gather at the home and put a call out for tables, red balloons and a DJ.
Ayyyyeeeee! We're back at Magnolia! We need some tables, red balloons, and a DJ. We got food, libations and WE GOT US! Join us at 2928 Magnolia. It's a celebration!
***PS – We need a DJ stat!!!***
— Moms 4 Housing (@moms4housing) January 15, 2020
The Moms 4 Housing Twitter account retweeted several photos of the moms who occupied the home outside the fence serving food to people gathered.
— Kaiden (@KaidenNiaAli) January 15, 2020
“We’re placing a fence around the property,” said Wedgewood spokesman Sam Singer. “We’re putting security guards inside of it. We’re hoping that the individuals who have been evicted from the home go away peacefully.”
The house flipping company that owns the home called it a peaceful conclusion. Moms 4 Housing called it a victory.
“This ain’t gonna stop!” exclaimed Cross. “That’s a temporary fence. It’s not in the concrete. Anything built up can be broken, just like this system.”
“This house was a statement, it was a symbol of what needs to happen in Oakland,” said Dominique Walker, one of the women who moved into the house. “This was an absolute victory.”
“We are not trying to take the individual properties of moms and pops, don’t let Sam Singer tell you that,” said Carroll Fife with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. “We’re talking about the greed of wealthy corporations that are robbing all of us.”
Singer would not say if security has been increased at the company’s other Oakland properties.
“Wedgewood is really focused on this one incident,” he explained. “We’ve never had something like this happen before, we hope it never happens again. No one likes to have their property stolen and no one likes to have to go to the sheriff to have people evicted.”
Off camera, a number of other companies told KPIX that they are aware of the incident and take any number of precautions to secure vacant properties. But those empty homes have become the focal point of Oakland’s housing movement.
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Walter Baker and Jesse Turner walked out of jail shortly after and talked about the early morning arrest.
“The moms said, ‘We’re not going to go,'” remembered Baker. “So they let us out and put the cuffs on us and said, ‘Is that too tight?’ We said, ‘That’s perfect.’ And then they tightened them a little more.”
The activists said they planned to hold a barbecue at the site of the Magnolia Street home in defiance and celebration. There was no word as to where the four homeless women who were staying at the home would be staying Tuesday night following the eviction.
A GoFundMe account set up to raise money to pay for their bail had raised more than $30,000 as of early Tuesday evening.
Cross and Baker are scheduled to be arraigned at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin at 9 a.m. Thursday and King and Turner are scheduled to be arraigned at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland at 9 a.m. on Feb. 13.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. KPIX 5’s Juliette Goodrich, Wilson Walker and Joe Vazquez as well as Bay City News Service contributed to this report.