LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A Massachusetts woman faces charges after she allegedly tried using bee hives to attack sheriff’s deputies during an eviction.
According to a news release from Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, on October 12th at around 9:15 a.m. 55-year-old Rorie Susan Woods of Hadley pulled up to an ongoing eviction in a blue Nissan Xterra. Woods left her dog in the car and immediately went to the bee hives being towed by her SUV, and tried to open the lids to unleash the bees.
Woods was one of several protesters who had gathered outside the $1.5 million house to prevent the eviction of homeowner Alton King Jr., according to PennLive.com.
Sheriff’s officials said a deputy tried to stop Woods, but she made the bees angry and they started to circle the area. Woods then allegedly smashed the lid and flipped a hive off the flatbed, which made the bees very aggressive. The bees stung several officers and bystanders who were watching nearby.
Woods put on a professional beekeeper suit to protect herself, then carried a tower of bees near the front door of the home to try and stop the eviction, which had been stop-and-go for nearly two years, according to the release. At the front door of the home, she tried to agitate the bees more, officials said, and was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies and booked at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Facility.
Woods was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and a disorderly conduct charge.
“Never in all my years of leading the Hampden County Sheriff’s Civil Process Division have I seen something like this,” stated Robert Hoffman, Chief Deputy of the Civil Process Office. “We truly try to help everyone we are court-ordered to evict and the New York Times even documented the sheriff’s humane eviction process during the pandemic. I’m just thankful no one died because bee allergies are serious. I hope that these out-of-county protesters will reconsider using such extreme measures in the future because they will be charged and prosecuted.”
“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,” stared Sheriff Nick Cocchi. “And they appreciate how we go above and beyond to help the people being evicted with anything they need from food and temporary shelter to long-term housing, employment, and mental health and substance use disorder treatment. 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 to the hospital and luckily, he was all right or she would be facing manslaughter charges. 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.”