An Unlikely Distraction Was Released In Court During These Protesters' Arraignment

james t foley courtroom in albany new york
Zain Murdock
June 30, 2022

34-year-old Black Lives Matter Upstate NY co-founder Clyanna Lightbourn may or may not have been involved with releasing hundreds of cockroaches into an Albany courtroom in June. Regardless, she was the one police charged. 

But let’s backtrack to how this all started.

That day, Lightbourn and three others came to court after their arrest for protesting to support an anti-eviction bill for tenants’ rights. When supporters objected on their behalf in court, and Lightbourn started filming, authorities began to arrest her. 

Meanwhile, someone unleashed the roaches, shutting the entire courthouse down!

“...[W]hile the right to protest is protected,” stated the District Attorney's office, “we oppose the disruption of court proceedings, and the apparent display of disrespect shown to the court.” And as for the fumigation? “Taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill.” But, here’s the irony.

Taxpayers, not just in Albany but across the country, actually "foot the bill" for BILLIONS of dollars to settle police misconduct settlements – many instances occurring at protests like Lightbourn’s.

And from police killings to highly disproportionate eviction rates to brutal criminalization, Black people are violently disrespected in this country.

Using cockroaches to disturb proceedings may appear a strange or "disrespectful” tactic, but Black people have always used all sorts of means to seize justice and liberation. What's more important: the comfort of court officials, or our lives?

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