In Orange County, California, OC Weekly
- On the morning of October 10, Niko Black was alone and ill when deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department arrived to evict her from her Garden Grove home on Shannon Avenue. "I'm in my bed and I see them storming my property," she tells the Weekly. "I crawl to my wheelchair."
The 37-year-old Mescalero Apache woman, who suffers from a rare, malignant and metastatic form of cancer, refused to open the door, saying that they had no legal right to be there. On the other side was a taped copy of a court order 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.
"They break down my door," Black recounts. "I'm sitting there in my wheel chair. I'm about 100 pounds of shriveled-up cancer and a threat to no one."
What came next, she says, was much more harrowing. "Sergeant Bob Sima puts a gun to my face, finger on the trigger, no safety and walks around me," Black states, pausing to emotionally gather herself. "There's no reason, except for to threaten my life, for an intimidation factor, to put a gun to my head."
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 said, claiming that deputies were unresponsive to concerns about her condition; one officer even remarked that she 'looked good' to him. An ambulance finally arrived at her friend's behest and she was forcibly removed from her home and hospitalized.
Sheriff's officials claim they originally arrived to Black's home on September 19 and that she served them legal documents at the time. County counsel allegedly instructed the deputies to carry out the eviction. Following the events of October 10, though, 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.
"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."