'Oh, you’re allergic? Good': Massachusetts woman releases swarm of bees on cops serving eviction notice
LONGMEADOW, MASSACHUSETTS: A woman was arrested and charged with assault after allegedly releasing a swarm of bees on sheriff's deputies who were attempting to execute an eviction order. The incident took place on Wednesday, October 12, in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, when Rorie Susan Woods, 55, arrived at 49 Memery Lane in her blue Nissan Xterra hauling multicolored beehives. Homeowner Alton King Jr was supposed to receive eviction papers when deputies went to the $1.5 million house to deliver them, but they encountered an unexpected form of protest instead. "During this time, the officers secured the premises and waited for Mr. King to return, as we were told that he was at court trying to delay the eviction," deputy sheriff Daniel H Soto wrote in a report, as per Mass Live.
According to a Hampden County Sheriff's Department official, Woods arrived around 9.15 am and immediately attempted to open the container with bees while leaving her dog in the vehicle. Officials with the Sheriff's Department claim that a deputy attempted to stop the woman as she was trying to release the swarm. However, it was too late, and some of the bees flew out, forcing the deputy to retreat. Woods made several unsuccessful attempts to take off the lid before deciding to smash the lid and flip the container. Observers and nearby deputies were stung as the bees quickly turned agitated and "extremely aggressive."
The owner of the hives, Woods, was clad in a beekeeper's outfit and carried the bees to the house's front door. According to law enforcement, the middle-aged woman was using insects to sabotage an eviction that had been "stop and go" for more than a year and a half. Robert Hoffman, chief deputy of the Civil Process Division, stated, "Never in all my years of leading the Hampden County Sheriff's Civil Process Division have I seen something like this."
Woods was arrested and taken to the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Facility after the agitated bees had calmed down. Officials said on Wednesday that she has been charged with three counts of assault with a "dangerous weapon" and one count of disorderly conduct.
Hampden County Sheriff's Department's spokesperson said they are mostly prepared for the protests during evictions. According to Daily Mail, he said, "We are always prepared for protests when it comes to evictions, but a majority of the groups who protest understand that we are just doing our statutory duty in accordance with state law." The spokesperson said that many of their staff members are allergic to bees and they are now lucky to survive. "But this woman, who traveled here, put lives in danger, as several of the staff on the scene are allergic to bees. We had one staff member go the hospital and luckily he was alright or she would be facing manslaughter charges." He warned, "I support people's right to protest peacefully, but when you cross the line and put my staff and the public in danger, I promise you will be arrested."
According to Mass Live, the report states that "while Woods was being escorted to the cruiser, [another deputy] advised Woods that he and several officers were allergic to bees." The alleged response from Woods was, "Oh, you're allergic? Good." The Boston Globe reports that Woods was released on personal recognizance and that her next court appearance is set for December 9.