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Upstate Courthouse Evacuated After Protester Releases Cockroaches

Cockroaches released by a protester inside Albany City Court Tuesday, June 7.
Cockroaches released by a protester inside Albany City Court Tuesday, June 7. Photo Credit: Lucian Chalfen/Google Maps street view

Proceedings at a New York courthouse came grinding to a halt after a protester released scores of cockroaches inside a courtroom.

It happened Tuesday morning, June 7, at Albany City Court.

During an arraignment of four people who were previously arrested at the Capitol, a protester released hundreds of cockroaches that had been brought in plastic containers, according to Lucian Chalfen, a spokesperson for the state Office of Court Administration.

Chalfen provided a photo to Daily Voice showing several of the insects on the ground next to a bed of lettuce and dirt.

The incident forced an evacuation of the courthouse while exterminators were called in to deal with the bugs.

Court officers arrested a 34-year-old woman on multiple charges, including tampering with evidence, for allegedly trying to take back her phone after court staff confiscated it when she tried to film, Chalfen said.

However, the woman is not charged with the bugs' release.

Chalfen said the incident is still under investigation and more people could face charges. 

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

He said prosecution could include restitution for the costs of the clean up.

"Taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for these actions," he said.

A notice on the court’s website said the Morton Avenue building will be conducting operations virtually Tuesday “due to facility issues.”

The Albany City Civil and Traffic Courts remain fully operational at 24 Eagle Street, according to the court’s website.

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