By Jeff Martin
ATLANTA — Less than a year after Occupy Atlanta members clashed with police in riot gear in a downtown park, they're now protesting alongside officers to help a retired detective avoid losing her home to foreclosure.
Activists planned to join current and retired Atlanta police Monday for a demonstration and discussion at the home of retired Atlanta police Det. Jaqueline Barber in Fayetteville, south of the city.
"The police are in the 99 percent and when it comes down to their economic struggles, we're going to be there to a shine light on those and organize around those," said Tim Franzen. He and others who were involved with Occupy Atlanta are now part of a group called Occupy Our Homes ATL, which focuses on the housing crisis.
Barber said she is under threat of eviction after her medical bills mounted, partly because of a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a form of blood cell cancer.
"I know God did not bless me with this house for someone to just come and take it," Barber, 62, said through tears on Monday.
Representatives of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, which is involved in the foreclosure proceedings, did not return phone calls and emails from The Associated Press.
Barber said she 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 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.
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.
A Thursday court hearing in her case is planned. "If she loses, she will be evicted," Franzen predicted.
In November, Atlanta police on horseback and on motorcycles closed in on Woodruff Park downtown, where Occupy Atlanta members had camped in tents. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested in a series of clashes.
Barber is the second police officer Franzen's group has tried to help avoid foreclosure, he said. The first was a law enforcement officer who ended up losing his Snellville home but is still involved in a court battle over the property.
Elsewhere, retired officers have joined Occupy demonstrators. A retired Philadelphia police captain, Ray Lewis, was arrested while wearing his old uniform during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration outside the New York Stock Exchange in November.
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Copyright 2012 Associated Press