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Can police refuse to evict someone?
That's the question currently being asked by everyone who has heard of Elvinia Hall, the 103-year-old woman who almost lost her home. Hall, along with her 83-year-old daughter, has lived in the Northwest Atlanta home for 53 years. But a few years ago, Hall's grandson failed to make mortgage payments, causing the home to go into foreclosure.
A long legal battle over the home ended late last year, and Chase Bank decided it was time to evict. But when Sheriff's deputies showed up last week, they just couldn't do it.
When they arrived, deputies were met by a moving truck and a number of local news outlets, reports WGCL-TV. The situation was so stressful that Kathleen Cornelius was taken to the hospital for breathing problems. And then deputies got a look at the frail Elvinia Hall.
They called off the eviction and left.
Whether police can legally do this is up for debate. When police (usually the Sheriff) carry out an eviction, they are enforcing a court order to vacate. The police can't help a landlord or bank evict someone if there are any legal uncertainties.
In some states, police may have a duty to aid in evictions. In others, a duty may not exist without the property owner first paying a fee. But even then, there may be a situation in which police may refuse to evict someone.
For example, police may be able to refuse when an eviction places the occupants' safety at risk. This may have actually been why police refused to evict Elvinia Hall and Kathleen Cornelius. Forcing them out could have compromised their already questionable health.