Editor’s Note: The following article and video was posted to the Raging Chicken Forum by Don Carpenter, an Occupy Pittsburgh Livestreamer. It was originally posted to The Uptake. We’d encourage all fans of progressive, activist journalism to check out The Uptake too. The the video below is from Don Carpenter, text is credited to Michael McIntee. Don attended the Occupy Homes MN rally at the PNC Bank Headquarters. Occupy Homes MN is currently fighting for the Cruz family. The movement to save their home has resulted in 23 arrests over the course of 5 eviction attempts. If you jump to the 6:00 minute mark of the video below, you will see Jim Weslager, PNC head security officer, warning protesters that they will be arrests from criminal trespassing if they were to go into any PNC branch.
On June 21st, the Cruz family caravan came into Pittsburgh to try and meet with Dan Taylor. Dan Taylor is the PNC executive who on June 4th, told Occupy Pittsburgh and Cruz family supporters that PNC was looking to rectify the bank error and contact the Cruz family and work with them on their recently foreclosed home in Minnesota.
After a brief rally at Market Square, the Cruz family, members of Occupy Homes MN, and Occupy Pittsburgh marched to PNC bank headquarters where the family met with Fred Solomon (head of PNC PR), and Jim Weslager (head of PNC Security). After an hour, the family emerged from the bank heartbroken. PNC bank informed the family there was nothing they could do, and blamed the problem on poor communication by Freddie Mac. The Cruz family lost their home, but would not leave Pittsburgh defeated.
On June 22nd, the Cruz family returned to PNC bank to speak with Dan Taylor who made previous public statements promising resolution to the family. Dan Taylor was nowhere to be found. Jim Weslager met the family outside the bank denying entrance to the building, denying the family a talk with Taylor, and then threatened the family and supporters with arrest for trespassing if they entered any PNC property.
An undercover officer with the Pittsburgh Police then identified herself, and threatened the family with arrest for obstructing sidewalk traffic if they decided to wait outside of the property to wait for Mr. Taylor. The family and supporters stayed outside of PNC bank for over 2 hours with no further contact with PNC bank, its reps, or Dan Taylor.
Calls to Dan Taylor’s office were not returned.
Don Carpenter is an online correspondent for the Occupy Pittsburgh Now newspaper in Pittsburgh, Pa, and a Member of The Communications Working Group. He also is a correspondent on livestream for Occupy Pittsburgh, and Radio Occupy.