One arrested in New London eminent domain protest

You do not own “your” property. It belongs to the state. And whenever the state decides it wants to, it can take “your” property from you, and give it to whomever it wishes, for whatever reason, or no reason at all. This was the effect of last year’s Supreme Court decision in the Kelo v. New London eminent domain case. But despite the fact that the case is long over, people are still protesting.

On Friday morning, Lauren Canario was arrested when she refused to leave one of the Fort Trumbull properties as developers moved in to board up the buildings.

Canario, who had been renting an apartment from one of the property owners, was sitting on the front porch of one of the buildings and refused to move. Police came in to arrest her and had to physically carry her away. She has been charged with criminal trespass, interfering with a police officer, and refusal to be fingerprinted, according to a New London police dispatcher who did not identify himself, is being held on $5,000 bail, and is being denied visitors, according to people who have attempted to schedule a visit.

A dispatcher could not say on whose property Canario was trespassing.

One of the officers involved said that he felt Canario “victimized” him by refusing to submit to his oppression.

The properties had apparently, after the property owners were forced out, taken over by local homeless.

The city began boarding up these homes right after homeless people set up camp here. Before her arrest Canario told us what she had seen in recent days.

“I’ve just seen a tent in the yard and some lights on in the building,” Canario said. . . .

“Squatting is being on someone else’s land. Homesteading is taking land that no one has. It’s pretty much abandoned is not being used.”

But this land is going to be used as part of the city’s economic development plan. John Brooks, the waterfront development manager, says boarding up these houses was already scheduled, not just a reaction to reports of squatters. — WTNH

After the arrest, the New London Police Department and City Hall were inundated with phone calls from protesters asking why Canario was arrested, what the charges against her were, and if she was being treated well. People came from as far away as New Hampshire to protest Canario’s arrest at noon Saturday in front of the jail.

Watch Lauren Canario being arrested by New London Jackbooted Police. “To protect and serve” is written on the doors of their cruisers. Who are they protecting and serving?

Canario’s husband, Jim Johnson, was holding the sign “Eminent Domain Central.” He said he did not understand why his wife was arrested because all she was doing was reading a book on the porch of a home that used to be owed by Pasquale Cristofaro and his family.

Johnson said Canario did not live at the residence where she was arrested but was staying in a property on Smith Street formerly owned by William Von Winkle, one of the last Fort Trumbull property owners to sell.

“Lauren believes that the property was stolen down there,” said Johnson, who spends his time in New London and New Hampshire, where he hopes the couple will live once Canario ends her battle with the city. “This is the shame of eminent domain. She is going to stay here until they strip the land bare. I don’t ever believe they are ever going to start building there.”

Johnson believes it was the New London Development Corp. that called the police on his wife.

Capt. William Dittman said that a call came into the dispatch center that a television news crew was in the area. — The (New London) Day

Oh sure, anybody seeing a television news crew, please call the police! They could be filming! Yeah, I believe that one.

A year ago this week, Canario was arrested for trying to attend a New London City Council meeting. The council had postponed and moved the meeting at the last minute, apparently to prevent attendance by eminent domain opponents, and Canario was arrested for trespassing, interference with a police officer, and refusal to be fingerprinted.

When they come for your home, will you go quietly and take the table scraps they offer you, which is what most of the property owners in this case wound up with, or will you fight it to the bitter end — and beyond?

(Read more, including eyewitness accounts.)

One thought on “One arrested in New London eminent domain protest

  • December 18, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Lauren Canario is a hero of the people!
    She is a defender of freedom, and will let nothing stand in her way while she fights for the rights of others.
    Lauren, who was arrested for protesting the taking by eminent domain, the property of a friend’s house, has stood up to her captors and will not relent her position of being right.
    Eminent domain has become an ugly abuse of power over the people by the U.S. Government.
    In recent months, people have stood up to this illegal use of power.
    Whether it be by votes or protest, people everywhere have had enough of the taking of land by eminent domain.
    Lauren Canario is at the forefront in this fight against eminent domain, and the right of free speech and protest.
    Connecticut Judge Kevin McMahon has kept Lauren in prison since September 22, 2006 because of her peaceful protest.
    McMahon must think that Lauren is a threat to the government that wants to keep it’s power over the people.
    What McMahon and others like him don’t realize, is that while Lauren Canario is in jail, there are countless people who are carrying her torch of freedom.
    The freedom fighters are growing in numbers, and like Lauren, they will not be stopped!
    I love you Lauren, and stand with you in the name of freedom!
    As a believer of all those who protest for freedom and the rights of people against the government,
    I am,
    George Vreeland Hill.

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