Putting past conflicts aside, Occupy Atlanta members and police stood side by side on Monday in a show of support for retired Atlanta Police Detective Jaqueline Barber.
The scene on Monday was much different than the one witnessed last fall in downtown Atlanta's Woodruff Park. On two different occasions last year, Atlanta police officers, dressed in riot gear, confronted Occupy protesters and arrested many for camping out in the park. Today however, Occupy members joined current and retired Atlanta police officers for a demonstration and discussion at the home of retired Atlanta police Det. Jaqueline Barber in Fayetteville, just south of the city.
Barber worked as a member of the police department's fugitive task task force, spending a portion of her 20 year career "kicking in doors" according to and Associated Press report. She also worked as an undercover narcotics unit detective before being assigned to the Atlanta airport. When she sustained injuries after being struck by a car, she retired in 2001.
Barber, now 62 years-old, has been threatened with eviction after her medical bills for treatment of multiple myeloma, a form of blood cell cancer, began to mount up, making it impossible for her to keep up her monthly mortgage payment. She told WJACTC: "I know God did not bless me with this house for someone to just come and take it."
Barber has tried everything she could the last two years to get a loan modification, sending in document after document to Wells Fargo bank. In early 2012, Barber said Wells Fargo officials assured her they were working on her case. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, Wells Fargo sold Barber's mortgage to U.S. Bank during an action, despite telling here they would work with her on a loan modification. A few short weeks later U.S. Bank sent her a letter demanding she leave the property. Family members and friends have offered to purchase the home from U.S. Bank, but the bank has refused.
As a last ditch effort to save her home, which she shares with her daughter and four grandchildren, Barber filed for bankruptcy in August. The action only brought her a temporary reprieve however. She has a court hearing on Thursday, and if she loses, she and her family will be evicted.
Tim Franzen, an Occupy Atlanta and Occupy Our Homes ATL member, told WJACTC"The police are in the 99 percent and when it comes down to their economic struggles, we're going to be there to shine a light on those and organize around those."
Barber is the second police officer Franzen's group has tried to help avoid foreclosure. The group attempted to help an officer save his Snellville home, but were unsuccessful.
Representatives of U.S. Bank did not return phone calls and emails from The Associated Press.