A Massachusetts woman is facing multiple assault and battery charges for unleashing a swarm of bees on law enforcement officials trying to serve an eviction.
Rorie Woods, 55, pleaded not guilty to her arraignment on October 12 in Springfield District Court and was released without bond, according to Masslive.com. Authorities say Woods released hundreds of bees while sheriff’s deputies signed an eviction notice. Woods now faces seven felonies and one misdemeanor, according to Hampden County Sheriff’s Department.
When Hampden County deputies arrived at the home to serve the court-ordered eviction on October 12, they were met by protesters from a local organization supporting black landlords, and soon after Woods walked away. is present.
Woods, who does not live in the Longmeadow home, arrived in a beekeeper’s garb with a trailer full of hives, “quickly jumped up” and then began “shaking” the hives, deputies said.
“Never in all my years as head of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Civil Procedures Division have I seen anything like this,” said Robert Hoffman, deputy chief of the Civil Procedures Office. “I hope these out-of-county protesters will reconsider using such extreme measures in the future, as they will be charged and prosecuted.”
When Woods was handcuffed and told several agents were allergic, she said, “Oh, are you allergic? Good,” according to the report. Several employees of the sheriff’s department, including three allergic to bees, were stung, according to the report. Woods, who lives about 25 miles from Longmeadow’s home in Hadley, Mass., was handcuffed.
“I’m just thankful no one died,” Hoffman said.
Woods’ attorney did not immediately respond to USA TODAY on Thursday.
“We sent a staff member to the hospital and luckily he was fine,” the Hampden County Sheriff said. Nick Cochi said.
Woods endangered deputies and neighborhood residents, Cocchi added, and could have faced more serious charges had something worse happened.
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Why were the protesters at home?
In August, the New England Regional Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed an amicus brief with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in support of Longmeadow owner Alton King. NEAC said black homeowners have been unfairly targeted in “an unprecedented period” of illegal foreclosures.
“The Alton King case is unfortunately just one of thousands of Massachusetts homeowners targeted by discriminatory and illegal lending practices; it has disproportionately harmed black and other borrowers of color,” said Juan Cofield, president of NEAC.
NEAC and the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending – a coalition of local and statewide organizations that provide legal services to “reverse the foreclosure crisis” – say King was wrongfully evicted from his home and that he provided evidence of a stay of bankruptcy in court one day after the eviction notice was served. The groups have been involved throughout King’s legal process.
In 2018, Masslive.com reported that MAAPL appealed a Supreme Court ruling on behalf of Woods and 20 others who faced deportation.
Officials said the $1.5 million, 22-bedroom home is currently owned by Bank Of New York Mellon and has been stuck “in the legal process” for two years.
Camille Fine is a Trending Visual Producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.
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