ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany City Court is closed for the day after hundreds of cockroaches were released inside during an arraignment. One person was arrested as a result of the incident.
“And what it looks like is they were put there intentionally. I don’t want to jump to any sort of conclusions or make any accusations but it seems that they were put there as some form of protest,” says Darrell Camp with the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.
According to the court, during the arraignment of four people for a previous arrest at the Capitol, one person started to film proceedings in the courtroom. Court officials then told the person to stop.
Soon after, the court said hundred of cockroaches that were brought into the courthouse in plastic containers were released. Court officers arrested Clyanna Lightbourn, 34, for her role in the incident.
Other individuals could potentially face charges, Camp says. “There are a number of issues: there is a court proceeding that had to be upended and moved because of one’s actions or it could be several people. Who knows at this point. But this is the kind of thing you don’t want to set a precedent for people being able to do because that would embolden further people in the future.”
- Tampering with physical evidence (felony)
- Disorderly conduct (misdemeanor)
- Obstructing governmental administration (misdemeanor)
- Resisting arrest (misdemeanor)
- Second-degree criminal contempt (misdemeanor)
The court said they are further investigating the incident and others may be charged. The courthouse is closed for the remainder of the day for fumigation.
“What transpired is not advocacy or activism, it is criminal behavior with the intent to disrupt a proceeding and cause damage,” said Albany City Court. “Prosecution and restitution for the costs of the cleanup as taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for these actions.”