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Three arrested protesting demolition

UPDATE: Fourth person arrested for vandalizing police car in area


KOIN 6 NEWS - Construction crews started tearing down the porch of a house, despite a protester on the roof.Police arrested three people Thursday during the latest protest over a residential infill project.

Robert Lee West, 50, is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer. Scotty Lee Atkins, 45, is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct. And Pedro Sanchez Jr., 53, is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.

The three were arrested trying to stop the demolition of a 1909 house at 3423 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. It is being torn down to make way for a planned 5-story, 30 unit building with no parking spaces.

A fourth person was arrested after a witness called 9-1-1 to report a man walked by a police car parked on Hawthorne Boulevard and used a key to damage the paint. Brad Mathew Whisler, 36, was located in the area and arrested on a felony charge of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree.

A protester who had climbed onto the roof of the house was not arrested after he agreed to come down. Demolition started while he was still on the roof.

The house has been empty for most of the summer. Although protesters say it should have been saved, some nearby business owners say squatters have been causing problems there.

“We can’t continue to disrupt the community and try to make these people bad guys when they’re not,” says Netty Haze, a manager at Jambo World Crafts. “They’re doing their job and they’re doing what they have a right to do.”