Criminal Justice

Court is closed for extermination after cockroach release during protesters' arraignment

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Exterminators were called to a courthouse in Albany, New York, on Tuesday after hundreds of cockroaches were released during an arraignment.

The insects were released at the Albany City Court during the arraignment of four rent protesters, the Albany Times Union reports.

The Associated Press, News 10 ABC and WRGB also have coverage.

The courthouse was closed for the rest of the day after the insects’ release.

The cockroaches were reportedly released when a person dropped lettuce onto the floor that was covered with cockroaches. A spokesperson for the New York Office of Court Administration provided the Albany Times Union with a photo of large cockroaches and lettuce on the floor.

“What transpired is not advocacy or activism, it is criminal behavior with the intent to disrupt a proceeding and cause damage,” said the spokesperson, Lucian Chalfen.

Clyanna Lightbourn, 34, was charged with tampering with physical evidence, criminal contempt, obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in connection with the incident, according to the Albany Times Union.

Lightbourn was not identified as the person who released the insects, however. Court papers said she created a distraction with her phone while others dropped the cockroaches, according to WNYT.

The Albany Times Union said someone tried to record the arraignment and then tried to take her phone back after court personnel took it from her. The newspaper did not indicate whether Lightbourn was that person.

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