Housing advocates fighting against Longmeadow eviction that ended in bee attack
LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - We begin with an arrest in Longmeadow that has many people talking. A woman released bees on sheriff’s deputies, trying to stop an eviction.
Now, representatives of the homeowner who was evicted on Memery Lane in Longmeadow say the eviction was unlawful.
The Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, also known as MAAPL, said that homeowner Alton King was wrongfully removed from his home.
On October 12th, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office was conducting a court-ordered eviction of this Longmeadow home, which made headlines when a woman protesting the eviction unleashed boxes of bees to sting the officers in an attempt to stop the eviction.
She can be seen in photos with sheriff’s department employees. It was a shock to deputies on the scene.
“It became known that the bees were in the trailer and that her intentions were such that, ‘I’m going to use them in a way to try to inflict harm on deputy sheriffs that are enforcing this court order,’” Chief Deputy Sheriff Robert Hoffman said.
The woman, 55-year-old Rorie Susan Woods of Hadley, was arrested and the homeowner was evicted.
Western Mass News is digging deeper into the removal of Alton King from his Memery Lane house.
Grace Ross with the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending said that the eviction of King was unlawful.
“You guys are aware of the protests and the actions on October 12th, but on October 13th, he brought evidence to the sheriff of a bankruptcy stay,” Ross explained. “That meant on the 13th, everything should’ve stopped.”
She added that the Sheriff’s Department should be able to deny a court order if they deem it to be unlawful.
“Each person is a separate legal entity here,” Ross said. “They all make choices right? The sheriff could say, ‘I recognize that this loan might be racist. I’m not a judge and I don’t know, but the physical eviction, which is my legal responsibility, has not gone according to the law for reasons beyond my control.’”
We asked Chief Deputy Sheriff Hoffman about this and he told Western Mass News that their job is only to carry out court-ordered evictions.
“The parameters and the specifics of Mr. King’s situation related to his ownership of his house, or lack thereof, is really not for us to delve into,” he said. “We have a court order that has been presented to us, and it is our job to effectuate that court order as professionally as possible.”
As of now, Ross said that they are continuing to pursue legal action on what they claim to be predatory lending practices and doing what they can to fight the eviction.
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