Group rallies at courthouse to delay eviction proceedings

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 7:47 PM EDT
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On Tuesday, eviction cases in Richmond restarted in city courtrooms after the state Supreme Court’s temporary suspension ended.

This prompted a small protest outside Richmond’s John Marshall Courthouse while the cases resumed, and the activists soon learned they had a great deal of support.

Members of Richmond Strike wore t-shirts with “No Evictions” emblazoned on the chest, standing their ground for citizens going through proceedings on Tuesday.

“It’s never right to put someone out on the street, but especially inhumane to do it during a health crisis,” said one rallier named Micah.

The group is pushing for a longer pause on eviction cases in the city, especially now that more people are faced with economic hardships. Some members are facing eviction themselves:

“My case has already continued two different times, and the date keeps changing,” said Samim Khizr Mykal Tyger, another rallier. They weren’t allowed in the courthouse today to look up information on their case, and fears others may go through the same thing.

“One of the other reasons I’m here is to test and find out what access to the court people in my position will have moving forward,” they said.

Last month, Mayor Levar Stoney announced that the city had secured nearly $6 million dollars for emergency housing. $250,000 of that money went towards the Eviction Diversion Program.

But the activists say its not enough.

“We are here to fight this legal battle. No one is coming to rescue us,” said Tyger.

But more did come to at least show their support later in the day as a long line of cars and bicycles circled the courthouse, with some people holding signs against these cases moving forward.

Tyger says Richmond Strike will continue to stage outside the courthouse, to help provide resources to those facing the boot.

“The main goal here is to represent the people of the city of Richmond, find out what we need, and try to get what we need,” they added.

Sources tell NBC12 that the city is advocating for legislation that gives the courts the authority to grant another 60-day extension if tenants can show that their situation is tied to the pandemic.