A beekeeper was handcuffed and temporarily detained after allegedly unleashing hundreds of bees on US law enforcement officers assigned with carrying out a controversial eviction.
Rorie Susan Woods was released without bail after pleading not guilty to assault and battery after the incident in the town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
Woods – who lives in Hadley, which is a 30-minute drive from Longmeadow – joined a group of protesters who had tried to save a black resident from being thrown out of his home, according to local media.
The 55-year-old reportedly wore a full-body beekeeper’s protective suit when she arrived at the scene.
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.
Robert Hoffman, the Chief Deputy of the Civil Process Office, told reporters: “Never in all my years of leading the Hampden County Sheriff’s Civil Process Division have I seen something like this.
“I hope that these out-of-county protesters will reconsider using such extreme measures in the future because they will be charged and prosecuted.”
Several law enforcement staff were stung, according to local media. Three of the affected officers are allegedly allergic to bees.
Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said: “We had one staff member go to the hospital, and, luckily, he was all right.”
Woods could have faced more serious charges if anything worse had happened, according to Cocchi.
Juan Cofield is the president of the New England Area Conference (NEAC) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organisation.
He said: “The Alton King case is, unfortunately, just one of thousands of Massachusetts homeowners targeted by discriminatory and illegal lending practices. It has damaged disproportionately Blacks and other borrowers of color.”
The affected home is currently possessed by a bank and has been tied up in the legal process for two years, according to officials.
The Mayo Clinic – a leading American medical research centre – says on its website: “Generally, insects such as bees and wasps aren’t aggressive and only sting in self-defense. In most cases, this results in one or perhaps a few stings.”