Reality television shows have transformed real courtrooms into a dramatized, unrealistic depiction. Shows like Judge Judy and People’s Court have massively changed the perception of judicial proceedings, which are usually no-nonsense and highly professional. But sometimes, court hearings can play out way stranger than fiction. At one New York state hearing, an individual released a box full of bugs, leading to a cockroach infestation.
This past Tuesday, an upstate New York court house had to close for fumigation due to a cockroach infestation. But the sudden appearance of numerous creepy crawlies wasn’t any ordinary occurrence. The bugs were brought into the courthouse and released after an altercation broke out in the city building.
The cockroaches were brought inside the courthouse in many plastic containers. According to officials, the cockroach infestation began after a brawl broke out between four people for an arrest. As the altercation escalated for unknown reasons, the previously contained bugs were suddenly released. The courthouse was closed almost immediately after the incident, with exterminators called the next day to fumigate the building for the cockroach infestation. Judiciaries and other city-building workers are still astonished by the brawl and the following bug release.
Succeeding the cockroach infestation was the arrest of a 34-year-old woman inside the courthouse. The charges are disorderly conduct, tampering with evidence, and obstructing governmental involvement. It’s unclear whether this woman was responsible for the insect liberation at this time. She was released at the end of the week for reasons still unknown. It is also unclear if the woman has communicated with an attorney to deal with the charges.
The Albany City Court released a statement regarding the incident, stating that the cockroach infestation is not “advocacy or activism.” This could indicate that the person who brought the bugs had a motive for distracting the court proceedings, but possible motives are only speculation currently. The courthouse statement unequivocally labeled the activity as criminal, which could lead to further charges for the assailant.
What is known is that the manufactured cockroach infestation was connected to the court proceedings around rent legislation. Each defendant was arrested due to their objection to renting laws in New York state. During the proceedings, there were twenty or more spectators who were in support of the rent protestors. From eyewitness accounts, the protestors brought in the invasive bugs, not the defendants. One person saw a spectator drop a piece of lettuce that was covered with cockroaches. Images of the Albany City Court’s new pesky residents were posted on social media, showing cockroaches scattered around the courtroom floor.
The physical courthouse will be closed until further notice, but all Albany City Court proceedings will occur virtually until the fumigation ends. As rent increases around the country, it makes sense to have outraged constituents attempting to protest the housing hikes. Though people have a right to protest in this country, the courthouse officials clearly disdained the protestors’ cockroach infestation approach. It’s currently unknown if the defendants’ cases were thrown out or postponed, since the courthouse is still technically open and operating.