There are a number of items which, for good reason, are not permitted in a courtroom, such as machetes, Peruvian flute bands, and pork fried rice. But where does it say that you're not allowed to bring in a choice collection of rat carcasses? Show us where a bag of dead rats is explicitly prohibited in the rules, and then we'll pass judgment on poor Ramon Severino, who was rudely ostracized in housing court yesterday for trying to introduce Exhibit A in a case against his landlord.
According to the Daily News, Severino is a comedian, but the bag of dead rats was not intended as sight gag. He's withholding $326 in rent on his Hamilton Heights apartment because he says it's crawling with rats, and the landlord refuses to do anything about it. But why should a judge simply take his word for it, when he's got ample evidence to prove his case? The News reports:
Pandemonium broke out inside Manhattan Housing Court when Ramon Severino, 52, whipped out a plastic bag stuffed with the seven bloody carcasses. A court officer hollered, “Do not let him pull anything out of his bag," as court observers bolted from the room, witnesses told the Daily News.
An officer snatched the pungent evidence from Severino and it was hauled out of the building. “It was nasty,” said Elliot Betances, a lawyer for Severino’s landlord, Riverside Community Management.
Other neighbors tell the News that Severino isn't crazy—his apartment isn't the only one in the building that's infested with rats. One neighbor says she's got rats in the bathroom, living, closet, "everywhere," and Severino tells the tabloid the rats are "on my bed, in my closet, in the bathroom, in the kitchen — everywhere. They run across my feet."
While some may think Severino's methods are unsound, they got results; the Department of Housing Preservation and Development ordered an inspection of his apartment within a week's time. With any luck they'll remember to check the toilet bowl, because don't forget that's a thing! Here, food for thought—happy Friday!