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If it looks like a tree, walks like a tree, talks like a tree, it’s getting arrested

Asher Woodworth was charged with obstructing a public way after he dressed as a tree and stood in the street on Monday.
Asher Woodworth was charged with obstructing a public way after he dressed as a tree and stood in the street on Monday. WCSH-TV

It’s unclear what prompts a person to wake up one morning and decide to dress as a tree and block traffic.

But that’s exactly what 30-year-old Asher Woodworth did in Portland, Maine on Monday, according to the Portland Press Herald. He wrapped himself in pine tree branches, leaving only his feet visible, and stood in the middle of a busy street.

Police were called since Woodworth was blocking traffic and gestured for him to move to the side of the road. Woodworth slowly meandered over – still completely obscured by tree branches – and police seemed confused as they tried to find his face in the branches to speak with him.

“I’ll accept your silence as admission that you understand,” one officer told Woodworth. “You’re free to go. Stay out of the roads.”

But when the tree-man wandered back into the street, officers clearly had enough and placed him under arrest. Photos and video show them removing branches from Woodworth’s frame until there are none left before placing him in handcuffs.

Reporters on scene said Woodworth would not respond to any questions, but Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch said the man told officers during his booking into jail that he wanted to see how people would react to his “performance” and how it would impact “people’s natural choreography.”

“It happens from time to time,” Malloch told the Press Herald of Woodworth’s performance in the heart of Portland’s arts district. “People do bizarre things because they want to get arrested. We’re still not sure if he was trying to make a statement.”

Woodworth was charged with obstructing a public way, a minor misdemeanor, and was released on $60 bail later the same day.

Social media was, of course, quick to comment on the weirdness.

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