ATLANTA (AP) — Protesters pitched tents Friday and braced for a showdown outside the home of a retired police detective under threat of eviction.
The development sets up a possible clash between her former co-workers and other law enforcement officers who carry out evictions.
A Thursday bankruptcy court hearing involving retired Atlanta police Detective Jaqueline Barber's home in Fayetteville did not go her way, said Tim Franzen, a leader of Occupy Our Homes ATL. A judge effectively lifted a stay, meaning the eviction could happen any day, he said.
Franzen said more than 30 people were camped out in the yard on Friday, and several of the officers who worked with Barber on the Atlanta force joined the effort.
"We're launching a full-scale occupation," Franzen said late Friday morning.
Barber's former partner, retired Atlanta police investigator Donald Hannah, was among those who showed up Friday to lend their support.
Hannah said he was taken aback when Barber called and told him of the situation, and he wondered how someone who served in the police department as long as she did could be forced from her home.
"Her character, her demeanor was above reproach," he recalled of their time on the force. "She would always give you a good morning, a great smile and a big hug."
Several financial institutions are involved in the foreclosure. A U.S. Bank spokeswoman referred questions to GMAC ResCap, where a representative didn't immediately return phone calls on Friday.
Barber, 62, spent part of her 20-year career "kicking in doors" as a member of a fugitive task force and also worked undercover in a narcotics unit, she said in an interview this week. She was later assigned to Atlanta's airport, the world's busiest, before she was struck by a car and retired due to the injury in 2001.
"I would go with her on a warrant and trust her," Hannah said. "I believe in everything she did as a professional."
She was later diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cell cancer.
She's now raising four grandchildren who range in age from 2 to 10, she said. If she's evicted, she expects that she will be homeless.
Occupy Our Homes ATL, which is focused on the mortgage crisis, is an outgrowth of Occupy Atlanta. Their protest is taking place less than a year after Occupy Atlanta members clashed with police in riot gear in a downtown Atlanta park.