Christine Frazer sat in a dining room chair in her driveway with a lifetime of belongings strewn across the yard of the south DeKalb home where she has lived for the past 18 years.
Frazer, 62, fought back tears as she watched family members and activists from Occupy Atlanta sort and pack her belongings after an early morning eviction May 2.
“I’ve been in this home 18 years,” Frazer said. “My daughter was raised here. My husband died here. My grandson came home here. This is my home.”
DeKalb County sheriff’s deputies blocked off her neighborhood at 3 a.m. to serve the writ of possession.
“We anticipated Occupy Atlanta being there so we prepared for it in number as well in the time,” said Sgt. Adrion Bell, a spokesman for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies encountered only one Occupy Atlanta supporter outside the residence in a tent, Bell said. The man complied when asked to pack up and leave the property.
When deputies received no answer to knocks on the door, they used a waiting locksmith to enter the home.
“It was literally a nightmare to have someone come to my home,” Frazer said. In the home at the time were Frazer, her 85-year-old mother, 25-year-old daughter and 3-year-old grandson.
“At 3 in the morning, where are you going to go [for] a hotel?” Frazer asked. “How are you going to get a U-Haul for your stuff? How are you going to get storage for your stuff?”
When Dianne Mathiowetz, an Occupy Atlanta supporter, arrived at scene at approximately 7 a.m. she commented, “This entire street was lined with DeKalb Sheriff’s cars. There were cops everywhere.”
“It took hours to [clean] this large house out,” Mathiowetz said.
“This is just a total violation of even the heartless eviction policy that exists,” Mathiowetz said. “This is beyond heartless. This goes to almost terrorism that a family would get no advance notice that this eviction was going to take place.”
Frazer’s attorney, Joshua Davis, said his client was treated “like she was some type of drug dealer, some type of criminal. It makes no sense.”
The timing of the eviction is when thieves come “to rob you, to take your livelihood and that’s essentially what they’ve done,” Davis said. “They took [Frazer’s] livelihood and put it out on the street.”
The early morning eviction is “absurd,” Davis said. “These things have to be addressed. If there are not particular laws addressing [it], there needs to be laws addressing these issues.”
Bell said evictions can occur at any time.
“There is no time limit day or night,” Bell said. “We were well within our legal rights.”
Sheriff Thomas Brown was at the scene “to make sure everything went well,” Bell said. “We wanted to make sure that we used caution and avoided any kind of confrontation with [Occupy Atlanta].”
Davis said he has never had a client evicted while there was a pending court action. Davis has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Frazer against Investors One Corporation, the company that claims to own the loan and is attempting to evict the family from the home.
Davis is challenging the assignment of the mortgage to Investors One after the mortgage changed companies three times in six months.
“We are disagreeing with whether or not Investors One had the right to foreclose and own this home and… evict my client,” Davis said. “That has not been dealt with. The judge has not ruled on it. And it’s still going on as we speak.”
For entrepreneur Frazer, financial misfortunes began in 2002 when her husband Leroy died. The couple owned a ladies’ clothing store, a moving company and two houses. Since her husband’s death, she has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy several times.
Frazer said the mortgage company would not work with her at all. The company said she owed them $145,000 plus another $30,000 in fees and penalties.
“That same document said the current market value of this home is $40,000,” Frazer said.
“They even told me at one point that they were trying to get a loan modification if I could come up with $20,000,” Frazer said. “I wouldn’t have defaulted on my loan if I had 20 grand. Be for real.”
Davis said he hopes Frazer’s battle to keep her home raises awareness about the foreclosure process.
“This situation is not known to just Mrs. Frazer,” Davis said. “It happens all over this state, all over this country. People are being set out every day.”
“I have a lawsuit in place,” Frazer said. “They’re not supposed to do this until after the lawsuit is settled. They didn’t wait. That sounds like a gestapo state to me. Somebody has to do something, and something soon, because this is just the tip of the iceberg if something isn’t put in place immediately.
“I may be the first [to be evicted] at 3 a.m., but I may not be the last unless something is put in place to stop this kind of act,” Frazer said.
When Frazer was asked where her family would be staying now that she has been evicted, she broke into tears and said, “That’s a good question.”