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'Black Nationalist' Squatters Move Into House For Sale, Change Locks and Claim it as Their Own

'Black Nationalist' Squatters Move Into House For Sale, Change Locks and Claim it as Their Own

Robert McClendon, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Squatters espousing allegiance to an esoteric black nationalist movement have staked a claim to a Bywater house up for sale and remain there more than a week after neighbors complained to police about the apparent trespassing.

The newcomers have posted signs claiming the property now belongs to the Washitah Mu'ur Nation. The Washitah, more commonly spelled Washitaw, claim to be descended from the original inhabitants of the New World, who, according to the group, were black Africans.

Fredrick Hines, whose name is on the tax rolls for the property and whom neighbors say is the true owner, called police after he found out a group of young people had moved into his investment property and changed the locks. Hines said he showed police the deed, which has his name on it, but they wouldn't remove the people living in the house.

The squatters also showed the officers some papers claiming ownership, Hines said, though he isn't sure what kind of papers they could have had. They wouldn't give him a copy.

Police said that, because both parties had papers, there was nothing they could do.

If Hines wanted the squatters removed, he said, police told him he would have to file eviction papers, a process that would take more than a week and cost him several hundred dollars. Hines said that he has filed the eviction papers and is now waiting for the time limit for the squatters to contest the ruling to run out, which should be some time this week.

"It's frustrating," Hines said, especially because this does not appear to be the first time the group has done this. "The police told me this is like the third house they've broken into," he said.

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