Moms arrested during eviction in Oakland won’t face charges, group says

Four people — incluing Tolani King, left — were arrested last month during a forced eviction in Oakland.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Four people arrested last month amid the forced eviction of homeless mothers and children in West Oakland that spotlighted California’s housing crisis will not face any charges, the group announced this week.

According to Moms4Housing, which describes itself as a “collective of unhoused and insecurely housed mothers,” the Alameda County district attorney’s office told the group Thursday that it would not proceed with legal action against Misty Cross, Tolani King and two male supporters of the group.

The D.A.’s office was not immediately available for comment Friday.

The mothers and housing activists took over an empty three-bedroom house on Magnolia Street with their children in November in an effort to find shelter and protest the Bay Area’s ongoing housing crisis. The group squatted in the blue-and-white home for two months until Alameda County sheriff’s deputies enforced an eviction order on Jan. 14 with guns drawn as nearby protesters chanted, “Let the moms go.”

Two women and two men were arrested during the incident.

“Drones, tanks, endless police vans full of troops, fatigued officers, SWAT/riot police, a robot and battering ram were used to carry out a pre-dawn raid at a home in a residential neighborhood where [Alameda County Sheriff’s Office] thought children were present,” the mothers group said in a petition last month, asking for accountability and a report on the actions by Friday.

The house remained empty after Wedgewood Inc., a Redondo Beach-based real estate investment company that flips houses, purchased the property at a foreclosure auction over the summer. The company served the women with an eviction notice in December, which they fought.


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Jan. 28, 2020

The real estate company has since agreed to sell the home to a local trust on behalf of Moms 4 Housing.

The group has called on the Sheriff’s Office to publicly release all police reports related to the January arrests.

“Residents of Alameda County have the right to know the county’s justification for using tanks to remove nonviolent mothers from a previously vacant home, and to know the cost to the taxpayers for such behavior.”

Sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said such records can be requested under the law.

“Everyone has the ability to,” he said. “That’s part of the public records laws we have in California.”