Thanks to the friendly people at Wells Fargo and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), a 37-year-old woman in a wheelchair who suffers from a rare, malignant and metastatic form of breast cancer was illegally evicted from her home at gunpoint.
Niko Black, a Native American Mescalero Apache, told the OC Weekly:
I'm in my bed and I see them storming my property, [so] I crawl to my wheelchair. They break down my door. I'm sitting there in my wheel chair. I'm about 100 pounds of shriveled-up cancer and a threat to no one. Sergeant Bob Sima puts a gun to my face, finger on the trigger, no safety and walks around me. There's no reason, except for to threaten my life, for an intimidation factor, to put a gun to my head.
Niko had legally declared bankruptcy and had been fighting Wells Fargo in a civil suit against eviction. She had owned her home for almost 20 years and had lived there since she was a child. She never even had a mortgage with Wells Fargo, and has entered into a civil suit around the fraud they have perpetrated against her, fraud that goes back many years.
After she filed bankruptcy, the court sided with Niko and put a stay on Wells Fargo’s eviction. Despite this, officers from the OCSD along with Wells Fargo employees harassed her on several occasions.
"Wells Fargo filed a motion about an inch thick all the reasons why they should be allowed to evict me," Black said about the court order. "The federal judge denied them and stated very clearly they are not to. The bank illegally acquired an unlawful detainer, an eviction, without due process. They did it with fraudulent paperwork."
Niko says that paperwork was signed by forgery with obvious misspellings of her name and filed a civil lawsuit. That is consistent with the claims of a $43 trillion class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo and 1807 other defendants. Her intransigence, she believes, is the reason why she's been subjected to this entire ordeal.
So Niko refused to open her door for police on October 10, on which was taped a copy of a court order (see slideshow) obtained from Federal Bankruptcy Judge Theodore C. Albert in late August that she firmly believes should have prevented the OCSD from carrying out the eviction. The deputies acted anyway on behalf of the county council and Wells Fargo. Finally, officers broke into her home and forcibly evicted her at gunpoint.
With neighbors lining up outside watching, Black's health began to worsen. "I needed my medication, I couldn't breathe and I was having a seizure," she told the OC Weekly. Niko said that deputies were unresponsive to concerns about her condition and one officer even remarked that she “looked good” to him. An ambulance finally arrived at her friend's behest and took her to a hospital.
Following the events of October 10, Judge Albert has ordered Wells Fargo and county officials to appear in court on November 13 to explain why they should not be held in contempt for violating the stay and be made to pay punitive damages.
Meanwhile, law enforcement is furiously spinning their side of the story. On October 22, Sgt. Sima used a local radio talk show to state that it is standard protocol to have weapons drawn in the clearing of a house, but that no guns were pointed at Black’s head, claiming that deputies were following instructions from the county council.
Just “following instructions” (or orders). That one was heard at the Nuremberg trials where former SS officials from Germany were tried for war crimes. These events are yet another example of how the US is turning into a police state that serves banks and corporations, not the American people, which is one of the 14 defining characteristics of fascism.
While law enforcement agencies, city officials and Wells Fargo will have to explain their actions in court, Niko’s health is deteriorating.
"Because I have a very aggressive form of cancer, every appointment, every day is crucial," she says. "I'm a person with a lower immune system. That's why all my nursing care, my physical therapy, my medical equipment, everything is set up for home care. This violates the Americans with Disabilities Act."
A social worker as well as the head of the hospital that she was taken to have both written in support of Niko being immediately returned to her home for medical care. Attorney Stephen R. Golden has agreed to represent Niko pro bono.
"All I want to do is go home," Black says. "All I want to do is save my life."
One of Niko’s best friends, Linda Rife of Tustin, CA, has started on online petition in support of her plight. The petition, directed at John Stumpf, the CEO of Wells Fargo, reads: “Wells Fargo: Don't break the law - leave cancer patients alone.” You can sign it here. Updates are posted on a Facebook page created for Niko.
Updates: Nov.1, 5:30 PM. According to David Cruz at KTLK AM 1150, the lawyers from the Stephen Golden Law Firm were able to get Wells Fargo to let Niko back into her home to retrieve her belongings and the medical devices needed for her treatment.
The governor's office has now gotten involved to investigate how something like this can happen in the state of California, and Wells Fargo has now been served with an order to show up to court and explain to the judge why they defied his orders.
Niko Black is a singer/songwriter and you can listen to some of her music here.