Activist Charged Over ‘Hive Attack’ On Her Fight Against ‘Predatory Lending’

A beekeeper who was handcuffed and temporarily detained after allegedly unleashing hundreds of bees on US law enforcement officers assigned with carrying out an eviction has revealed her intention.

Rorie Susan Woods was released without bail after pleading not guilty to assault and battery after the incident in the town of Longmeadow in the US State of Massachusetts.

The 55-year-old joined a group of protesters who had tried to save a black resident from being thrown out. The affected home is currently possessed by a bank and has been tied up in the legal process for two years.

A spokesman for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department said that Woods “quickly jumped out” and started “shaking” the hives she had brought with her in a trailer.

Several law enforcement staff were stung, according to local media. When an officer told Woods that he and several colleagues were allergic to bees, she allegedly replied: “Oh, you’re allergic? Good.”

Rorie Susan Woods, 55, poses in undated photo. She is facing several felonies after weaponizing honeybees to attack Hampden County Sheriffs deputies as they, in accordance with state law, enforced an eviction this past week in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, US. (Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, NewsX/Bee)

Now the activist has opened up about her aim. The Intelligencer, an American news website, quotes her as saying: “This is not about a few sheriffs getting a few honeybee stings. It’s about predatory lending, which is thriving in Massachusetts and beyond.”

Woods had worked as a home-remodelling contractor before focusing on full-time beekeeping, according to The Intelligencer.

After suffering an injury at work, Woods reportedly went bankrupt after falling behind on two mortgages she had taken during the easy lending-spurred housing boom of 2005.

Woods subsequently managed to stall the foreclosures of her properties by filing appeals. However, two banks eventually carried out foreclosure procedures in 2018.

The beekeeper – who was reportedly forced to live in a tent for several years – then decided to gain profound knowledge of domestic property regulations. She claims to have supported individuals in more than 40 cases ever since.

Woods told The Intelligencer: “Those of us in this fight have been cast as deadbeats, and we are anything but. I’ve been cast as litigious and frivolous because of the number of cases, and, in fact, I think that’s just my opponents’ frustrating way of trying to say ‘Why hasn’t she died yet?’”

Meanwhile, the authorities are continuing to investigate the incident in Longmeadow.

Robert Hoffman, the Chief Deputy of the Civil Process Office, said: “Never in all my years of leading the Hampden County Sheriff’s Civil Process Division have I seen something like this.

Hoffman underlined: “I hope that these out-of-county protesters will reconsider using such extreme measures in the future because they will be charged and prosecuted.”


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