Peaceful Protester Tasered Outside Department of Justice
Carmen Pittman had no intention of becoming an activist, but her bank, the Department of Justice and Occupy Atlanta turned her into one. Shortly before her grandmother died in 2011, the family realized that JPMorgan Chase was preparing to foreclose. HuffPost interviewed her late that year for a story on Occupy Atlanta and found a bewildered and desperate 21-year-old, talking about her childhood home in the past tense.
“My every Christmas, my every Thanksgiving, my every birthday, my every dinner was in this house,” Pittman said then of a home that had been in her family since 1953. “This was the base home. We could not stay away from this home. This home is my every memory.”
A year later, she won the house back from Chase. During the course of her fight, she was arrested for sitting on the floor of a local Chase branch and refusing to leave until the bank turned over the deed.
On Tuesday, she was camped out in front of the Department of Justice in Washington, having been fully transformed into an activist by her experience, asking why more Pittmans have been arrested related to the foreclosure fraud crisis than top Wall Street executives. She was answered with a stun gun.
Pittman’s arrest came a day after 17 former homeowners were arrested, according to District of Columbia police, some of them also tasered while demonstrating outside the DOJ building.
As HuffPost reported, the protesters blocked traffic in front of the Robert F. Kennedy Building beginning at 2 p.m. Five hours later, Constitution Avenue remained shut from 9th Street to 10th Street. Many of the protesters who were not arrested pitched tents outside the building, setting up the next morning’s showdown.
Those arrested were charged with “incommoding,” or obstructing, traffic, according to Ann C. Wilcox, a lawyer representing the protesters.
The demonstration was organized, in part, by Occupy Our Homes, a grassroots group that grew out of Occupy Wall Street to support homeowners facing foreclosure. Other grassroots groups, including coalitions from as far away as Washington state, California and Florida, also joined the protest.