GWINNETT COUNTY, GA – “Excessive force and brutality.”
That’s what Sumpter County NAACP President Mathias Wright claims Nova Lee and Howard Graber were subjected to when forcibly evicted from their Duluth home last month.
The Gwinnett County Sheriff SWAT team launched the raid on August 11th when they said the couple refused to obey a court order to leave peaceably.
Nova Lee Graber claims she was afraid to leave her wheelchair bound husband, who suffered a stroke last year.
On Wednesday their supporters claimed the Grabers had a legal right to stay, even though they were months behind on their mortgage.
They cited a “Counteraffidavit of Writ of Possession” the couple filed in court on June 28, 2010.
They claim the document, which the Grabers said was posted on their front door at the time of the SWAT team eviction, should have prevented their removal until they could get a jury trial.
“We were just wanting our day in court on this,” said Nova Lee Graber.
The Grabers’ supporters called for a formal investigation into the forced eviction.
They also handed out copies of two letters demanding the resignation of Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway and State Court Judge Randy Rich, who signed the eviction order.
“That’s a direct violation of their civil rights and even yours, if it so happened to you,” says the NAACP’s Wright.
Wednesday afternoon the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office said the jury trial code (Title 44, Chapter 11, Sections 30-32) only applies to third party squatters and not delinquent homeowners, like the Grabers.
Sheriff Butch Conway’s office issued a statement saying, “If the Grabers had acted in a lawful manner, they would have avoided the entire incident. Their latest antics aren’t worth commenting on.”
So far, no reaction from Judge Rich.
For now the Grabers are saying in a motel thanks to donations.
Meanwhile, their former Duluth home remains boarded and locked.