A group of activists used a bike lock to close off access to Brooklyn’s housing court, which the vandals also covered with anti-eviction graffiti on Friday morning, according to police.
Shortly after authorities discovered the spray-painted words “Eviction = Violence” and “Eat the Landlords” on the exterior of the locked-up courthouse, a declaration circulated on social media coming from “The People of New York” that claimed credit for the mischief — saying they were evicting the Housing Court from its Livingston Street location.
“We the People of New York City, do hereby evict the Brooklyn Housing Court from its premises on 141 Livingston Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 for failure to serve the people of Brooklyn in fair, ethical, and conscientious practice and for resuming evictions despite the unprecedented need for relief and affordable housing,” the post read.
Wow so this morning the Brooklyn Housing Court woke up to its doors spray foamed and bike locked shut, and then this document was released in a telegram room. It looks like people are not tolerating evictions any more. pic.twitter.com/PdKJsQwinF
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) October 16, 2020
Despite their best efforts, the act did not disturb operations inside the building, according to the court system’s spokesperson, who slammed the perpetrators for their lowbrow “well thought out, premeditated crime.”
“Clearly this was an orchestrated, well thought out, premeditated crime, not unlike the other previous acts of vandalism and criminal mischief recently perpetrated on the City’s courthouses,” said Lucian Chalfen. “These acts are not activism or advocacy and do not further the cause that they purport to represent.”
The act comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order which halted all evictions until 2021 and provided some rent relief for struggling tenants — but, the vigilantes argued, that move was not enough.
Instead, state legislators should waive rental payments entirely for New Yorkers who’ve lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, citing Queens state Sen. Michael Gianaris’ bill that would apply to three months of payments for both commercial and residential tenants.
“This is unconscionable and we demand that evictions end immediately,” the post read. “If our elected leaders won’t do it, then the People of New York will make sure it happens.”
Officials had removed the graffiti from Brooklyn’s housing court by Friday morning, and police are continuing to investigate the incident for criminal mischief, according to an NYPD spokesperson.