DETROIT -- Declaring that this is 'worse than Warsaw,' one of the last Poletown holdouts was forcefully evicted from his fortress-like home to make way for a new auto plant.
As several former neighbors and a contingent of armed police officers watched, John Saber, 69, was led handcuffed from his home in what was once Detroit's Poletown district, a neighborhood located near the Detroit-Hamtramck border where a $500 General Motors auto plant is being built.
After screaming insults at police officers, who came armed with a court-ordered eviction notice, Saber finaly left his home Monday, declaring, 'This is worse that what's happening in Warsaw,' referring to Poland's state of martial law.
The large contingent of police officers was sent because of published photographs of Saber with a rifle and publicized threats he had made in the past.
'It (the group of officers) was just a precautionary thing, the situation being what it was with the threats he made in the past,' said Police Cmdr. Kennth Hady. 'We used all the constraints and restraints we possibly could.'
Also evicted was Saber's sister, Helen Schuster, 73, who shared the home. 'I don't want to go,' she sobbed as police helped her down the stairs. 'Don't make me go,' she cried.
Outside the house, two former Poletown residents, Bernice Koczynski and Carol Dockery, waited to visit Mrs. Schuster and offer her sympathy.
'We lived right over there where those beams are going up,' said Mrs. Koczynski, pointing to the bare bones of the plant which is already under construction.
Both Saber and his son, Roger 28, have refused the city's offer of lodging at a downtown hotel. Instead, they will live in the rectory of the St. Hyacinth's church for a few days until they can find a permanent place to live.
The only house now standing in the neighborhood belongs to the Willie Feagan family. Feagan says he has not yet signed a relocation agreement for either his home or his lawn mower repair business with the city.
'I have to find a new home and a new place for my business by the end of the month,' Feagan said. 'I may even have less time than that.'