AUGUSTA — A local man who slammed a cup full of live bed bugs onto a counter in Augusta City Center in early June — causing the insects to pour out and the public facility to be closed for the day — has been charged with two misdemeanors.

City police charged Charles Manning, 74, with assault and obstruction of government administration, class D crimes punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, said Lt. Chris Read. They issued the summons to Manning in late June, and he will appear in court on Aug. 7.

When Manning released the bugs into City Center, he was reportedly seeking General Assistance but had just learned that he didn’t qualify for it, city officials said after the June 2 incident. Upon learning he didn’t qualify for General Assistance, Manning reportedly pulled out the cup and slammed it onto a counter, releasing about 100 bugs into the office.

Manning had been to City Center earlier that day, apparently to complain to the code enforcement office about the bedbugs in his former apartment on Court Street, officials said. His former apartment was being treated with pesticides, and he was reportedly seeking General Assistance to help find a new place, but didn’t qualify because he had other sources of income.

Read would not disclose details of the police investigation. But in June, Matt Nazar, city development director, described the reasoning that Manning had apparently offered for unleashing the bugs.

“He told police he wanted (city staff) to experience the same thing he was experiencing,” Nazar said. “Frankly, the General Assistance office has nothing to do with bedbugs. It’s an extraordinary bit of misdirected anger.”

At the time, police stopped Manning outside City Center but did not arrest him.

City Center was closed that Friday afternoon and re-opened the following Monday morning, after the General Assistance office and other areas of the building were sprayed with bedbug-killing chemicals by a pest control company.

Bedbugs have been a persistent problem in some buildings in the city, and they have been found in the city’s General Assistance office previously. The bugs are brown, flat and about a quarter-inch long, with a soft, rounded look. After a blood meal, they are dark red and larger. They feed on human blood but are not believed to carry disease.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker