The Wood County Sheriff sent the S.W.A.T team at approximately 6:30 am this morning to arrest the barricaded Keith Sadler at his foreclosed home in Stony Ridge. Local news media outlets have not yet reported on the situation, but Keith's cameras recorded the first minutes of the arrests before a deputy shut off the camera.
Update 7:55 am: WTOL just reported that "several supporters" had been arrested, but that Keith Sadler is still in the house. The reporter on the scene said that the group used PVC piping to link themselves together.
And to the person who emailed me: no, I will not be driving out there this morning.
Update 9:10 am: Keith and the supporters in the house have been arrested and transported to the Wood County Jail. Initial reports said that no one outside the house was arrested, but WNWO is reporting that protesters outside were also arrested.
Update 9:48 am: WTOL is reporting that Keith and the other arrested supported will be arraigned via video in Perrysburg Municipal Court later today (no time announced). No word yet on the exact charges that will be filed, and at this point WNWO is the only media outlet reporting that the people arrested includes protesters outside the home.
Update 9:58 am: WTVG reports the total number of arrested people at six, which would match the number or protesters originally barricaded in the house.
Update 10:11 am: The Toledo Blade has an interesting photo of Keith Sadler being carried out of the house:
Left: photo of the arrest of Keith Sadler courtesy of Toledo Blade/Dave Zapotosky
In the picture Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn is marching in front of the officers carrying the shackled Sadler out of the house. I suspect that this image will not hurt the sheriff among law-and-order voters in his reelection efforts this fall.
Update 11:25 am: The Toledo Blade is now reporting that seven people have been arrested, which indicates that at least one outside protester was also jailed with Keith and the supporters inside the house. Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said that the seven people face misdemeanor charges of obstructing justice and trespassing. The Blade said that they would appear in Perrysburg Municipal Court after 1:30 pm, but one of the commenters on the UStream site said that at least one of the arrested protesters is already in court.
Update 11:37 am: One of the commenters at the UStream site said that police would not allow activist Wesley Flowers to retrieve his shoes, and that he had to hitchhike barefoot to the Wood County Jail for the followup protest. The commenter indicated that Flowers was also stopped by sheriff's deputies while hitchhiking, but that he was not arrested.
Update 12:18 pm: Jan Larson of the BG Sentinel-Tribune has by far the best coverage to date of the arrest of Keith Sadler and the TFDL activists. The reporter took the time to talk with quite a few people on both sides, and the report is quite balanced. Larson also noted that Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn originally planned to raid the house next week, thinking that media attention would die down, but that plans by the activists to set up for events attracting large groups prompted him to commence the raid this morning. Lots interesting quotes and observations - recommended reading.
Update 12:28 pm: A commenter on the Ustream site indicated that there will be a "Solidarity Rally" at 1:00 pm for Keith Sadler and the arrested supporters at the Wood County Jail, which is located at 1690 E. Gypsy Lane in Bowling Green, OH.
Update 12:39 pm: Commenters on the UStream site indicated that the potluck dinner is still on for tonight, but that it has been relocated to the United Christian Fellowship in Bowling Green, OH, which is located at 313 Thurston St.
Update: 2:03 pm: Commenters on the UStream site who have been in phone contact with the arrested protesters think that the court will decide by 2:30 pm whether or not to free the jailed activists. The speculation is that the sheriff will press to keep them jailed at least for the weekend to reduce the likelihood that they will engage in another act of civil disobedience. Of course, others might view this as a ploy to stifle free speech, as there are plans for a gathering tonight in Bowling Green.
Update 2:19 pm: The court will release the arrested protesters today, according to Lance Crandall, media spokesperson for the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League. Good news for freedom of speech, though I think that the group members ought to tread carefully in Wood County the next few days. Just sayin'...
Update 2:33 pm: Reminder - the planned potluck dinner has been relocated to the United Christian Fellowship Community Center in Bowling Green, OH, which is located at 313 Thurston St. Do NOT go to the foreclosed home on Fremont Pike, as you will likely face arrest for trespassing. Be forewarned, folks.
Update 3:03 pm: All defendants were released their own recognizance instead of being forced to post bail, which indicates that the sheriff and prosecutors likely do not want jailed martyrs on their hands. Pretrial hearings for the arrested activists have not yet been scheduled.
Update 5:25 pm: Passing along an email from a friend of Keith who is disturbed by the misconceptions about Keith and his protest:
Keith Sadler is a friend of mine, a committed activist and a good union brother in the UAW. He and his fellow squatters knew how this house occupation would end, but I don't think he realized how many lies would be told about him in the news media.
Lie #1: Keith is a freeloader. Not true, he did not ask to get the house for free but negotiated with the bank to change the terms of his mortgage loan to reflect his diminished financial circumstances. After four months in arrears, the bank foreclosed on his mortgage. Keith has paid about $40 thousand dollars on this house, which sold at auction for $33 thousand. To all you numb skulls who say that Keith is a freeloader, consider this: Keith is getting free room and board in jail. So, if you can't stand that idea, call the Wood County Jail at 419-354-7744 and ask that Freeloader Keith be put on the streets again. Keith is not a freeloader, he took the best job he could find with his disability, which was working for the US Census.
Lie #2: Keith hasn't made a house payment in two years (I hear this on every news cast for all the TV news stations). If a bank forecloses on your house, are you going to keep sending them money? No rational person would do so. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of homes in the Toledo area where homeowners have simply stopped paying their mortgages because the bank will not work with them and have begun foreclosure proceedings. The fact is you can subtract 5 months from this so-called two years of non-payment because the Keith was supposed to be evicted in January. Even so, after five months the bank can only find a Xerox copy of Keith's mortgage. How would you like to be evicted by a Xerox copy? I guess a Xerox copy is all you need to evict somebody or you can also BUY a tax lien from the State for pennies and then evict somebody from their home even though you are not a State....this is incredible stuff happening. Pay attention people.
Lie #3: Keith broke a sacred contract (didn't keep his word) by frivolously not paying his house note (probably took a vacation to see the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, right, rightwingers?) Well in the Auto Industry, the bosses always reopen UAW our labor contract whenever their "competitive situation" deteriorates. Likewise the city of Toledo is in financial straights and wants to take concessions from the city workers, firefighters and cops. Are these not examples of breaking a sacred contract? Oh, but those banksters at Bank of American, JP MorganChase and other wall street monsters have to get their bonuses, don't they? Because that's a sacred contract.
Why can't banks accept that people are in worse situations when they injured, sick, or laid off from a depressed economy that was spun into the gutter by super-sized banks that gambled with money their depositors trusted them with?
Keith did this occupation in the hope of publicizing the need for a moratorium on home foreclosures. This is not a radical idea that Keith cooked up in his head. The governor of Michigan has also called for this generalized emergency moratorium.
George Windau, friend of Keith and member UAW Local 12
More updates as news becomes available.