Occupy Miami's Overtown Safehouse Now Owned By Non-Profit, But Neighbor Complains Conditions are "Worse Than Ever"

Categories: News, Occupy Miami

Miami is full of strange structures with odd stories, from foreclosed upon mansions to ancient burial grounds -- not to mention $2 billion baseball boondoggles.

No building boasts a bio as bizarre as 540 NW 7th Street, however. Once bought by a Colombian politician for $1.6 million, the Overtown apartment building was rechristened "Peace City" by the dozens of Occupy Miami protesters who moved in last year. But the supposed paradise soon became a den of drugs and violence. Several residents were arrested on terrorism charges. And the building was condemned in April of 2012, and its enigmatic owner was thrown in jail.

Now comes the latest twist in Occupy Miami's not-so-safehouse. The building has been officially signed over to a recently created non-profit organization called "Peace City Inc." But a neighbor says conditions have only gotten worse.

"People are urinating on the corner and people on drugs," says Terry Matias, who owns the apartment building nextdoor. "They look like zombies."

See also:
- Occupy Miami descends into drugs and chaos in an Overtown apartment building

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"NATO 3" Aren't Terrorists, Just Loud-Mouthed Wannabe Revolutionaries UPDATED

Categories: Occupy Miami
Thumbnail image for jaredchase_occupymiami2.jpg
Jacob Katel
Jared Chase aka J-Chase poses on Fort Peace's staircase two months before his arrest on terrorism charges
Two weeks ago, Chicago police announced that they had thwarted a devilish plot by three "Black Bloc" anarchists with ties to Occupy Miami. Cops arrested Brian Church, Jared Chase, and Brent Betterly as they were allegedly in the middle of making Molotov cocktails they planned to throw at targets around the Windy City.

Prosecutors have charged the trio with plotting terrorism, as if the twenty-something-year-olds were members of Al Qaeda. Friends in Occupy Miami, meanwhile, insist that the protesters are innocent.

The truth is, however, that Church, Chase, and Betterly were wannabe revolutionaries with big mouths. Read all about the three occupiers in this week's metro, or click through for video of the Miami flophouse where they lived.

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Occupy Miami: After May Day Arrests, Has the Movement Completely Burned Out?

Categories: Occupy Miami
occupy facebook.jpg
Occupy Miami's Facebook page
May Day was supposed to mark Occupy Miami's reemergence as a force for good. Instead, it raised questions about how much longer the movement will survive in Miami.

City police arrested three protesters during yesterday's downtown march, leading to another late-night protest outside the county's pretrial detention center. Yet, while arrests are nothing new for a movement that often practices civil disobedience, videos of the incidents show the event as a small group of protesters screaming insults at police. And, according to a police report, it was a protester -- not cops -- who threw the first punches before his arrest.

Videos and the report below.

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Three Occupy Miami Members Arrested During May Day Protest Downtown, Police and Protesters Both Claim Violence UPDATED

Categories: Occupy Miami
alfredo quintana arrest.jpg
Occupy Miami's Facebook page
Miami Police arrested at least two three Occupy Miami members today during a May Day protest downtown. Brian Tangherlini, 22, and Rolando Prieto, 23, were arrested after ignoring orders to get out of the street, according to a police report. Tangherlini was wrestled to the ground by several officers and allegedly kicked one of them in the ribs. Prieto, meanwhile, was locked-up after telling cops: "I'm not moving from the road. I'm a tax payer."

Occupy Miami member Kevin Young said that cops provoked the scuffle with Tangherlin by driving dangerously close to protesters. Young also claimed that Tangherlin suffered a broken arm during the arrest and that a third protester was punched in the face and arrested for filming the incident.

UPDATE: A Miami PD spokeswoman says that protester Alfredo Quintana was, in fact, also arrested and is being charged with three counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count of resisting arrest.

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Miami-Dade Police Watched Occupy Miami's Facebook Page For Months Around Eviction

Categories: Occupy Miami
The email went out to a group of Miami-Dade cops February 22, just a couple of weeks after they'd busted up Occupy Miami's downtown encampment. The subject line was in ominous military-speak: "Occupy Miami: Situational Awareness." Inside, an MDPD Homeland Security detective named Maritza Aschenbrenner passed along her latest intel on the protest movement's plans -- a "Jazz Night" at a Kendall bar.

The email is just the most absurd example of the dozens Aschenbrenner compiled during the height of Occupy's movement earlier this year -- a series of notes that illustrates how the department's Homeland Security Bureau closely monitored Occupy protesters through Facebook.

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Miami-Dade Police Watched Photog's Facebook Before Arresting Him at Occupy Miami Bust

Categories: Occupy Miami
via Photography Is Not A Crime
Miller's Facebook profile picture, which was sent to MDPD cops before the Occupy Miami eviction.
Carlos Miller isn't shy about his M.O. -- he believes photographers have the right to photograph police on the job, and he's more than willing to get arrested to prove his point. So it's not necessarily a surprise that cops are well aware of the 305's most rabble-rousing photog. Yet there's still something deeply unsettling about a batch of internal emails that Miller just posted from MDPD's Homeland Security team.

The emails show that in the lead-up to January's mass eviction of Occupy Miami protesters, MDPD anti-terrorism unit was actively monitoring Miller's personal Facebook page.

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Occupy Miami's Señor Paz Talks About "Peace City," His Overtown Building Turned Protest Camp

Categories: Occupy Miami
Señor Paz
Jacob Katel
In this week's Miami New Times feature story, Michael Miller explores Occupy Miami's strange journey after getting booted from downtown's Government Center. Displaced protesters moved to a ramshackle apartment complex in Overtown, where the building's owner -- who calls himself "Señor Paz" -- invited them to live for free.

You can read more about Paz (whose real name is Rodrigo Duque and whose father was a prominent Colombian politician) in Miller's feature. But before you make the leap, check out a video of Paz talking about "Peace City," his Overtown building turned protest camp.

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Occupy Miami's Overtown Safehouse Raided by Dozens of Miami Police With Assault Rifles UPDATED

Categories: Occupy Miami
Thumbnail image for Occupy Miami raid2.jpg
courtesy of Chris Mazorra
More than two dozen cops swarmed Occupy Miami's Overtown safehouse yesterday afternoon after responding to what appears to have been a bogus terrorism tip The raid was the second on Occupy Miami in the past six weeks. On January 31, Miami-Dade cops evicted protesters from Government Center. This time it was City of Miami police officers that arrived in SWAT vans and emerged with their assault rifles drawn.

"They were pointing guns at children!" says Ramy Mahmoud, one of three Occupy Miami members taken in for questioning and then released without charges. The Miami Police Department did not return a request for comment left last night. As soon as they do, we will update this post.

Update: Click through for New Times video of the raid's aftermath:

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"Occupy Tha Hood": Occupy Miami Takes Over Overtown Apt. Building UPDATED (Video)

Categories: Occupy Miami
Jacob Katel
Occupy Miami has moved to Overtown. Not everybody is happy about it.
On Tuesday, January 31, hundreds of cops forcibly shut down Occupy Miami's tent city at Government Center, ending nearly four months of protests.

But instead of heading home, dozens of protesters mysteriously migrated to a half-empty apartment building in Overtown. Apparently with the permission of the building's owner -- an enigmatic Occupy Miami member who has changed his name to Sr. Paz, or Mr. Peace -- they have taken the doors off of 26 units, spray-painted Anarchy signs on walls, and re-established "Peace City."

Rent-paying tenants, however, claim the protesters have only brought noise, drugs, and filth. "They poop on the walls!" says Sharene Odho. "It's like we live in a huge crack house now."

Update: Click through for a video report on the new camp and the residents' complaints.

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Occupy Miami Evicted By Hundreds of Cops, Though Few Are Arrested UDPATED

Categories: News, Occupy Miami
photo via Occupy Miami's facebook
​Hundreds of Miami and Miami-Dade police dressed in riot gear forcibly evicted the Occupy Miami campground last night outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, about 10 hours after the Occupiers had been served with an eviction notice. At least four people were arrested, including photojournalist Carlos Miiler, and no one was seriously hurt.

A core group of Occupiers -- about six in all -- who stood their ground hoping to get arrested were all but ignored and released shortly after police cleared the surrounding streets of protesters.

Update: We've got video of the eviction after the jump.
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