Attorney to challenge statute in ETSU gorilla mask case
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) – The attorney for a former Eastern Tennessee State University student says his client was acting within his First Amendment rights when he allegedly disrupted an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally while wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a rope and bananas.
Media outlets report Patrick Denton, attorney for 19-year-old Tristan Rettke, said during a hearing Tuesday he’s working on a motion to challenge the statute used to bring a civil rights intimidation charge against Rettke.
Rettke also faces disorderly conduct and disruption of a meeting or procession charges.
Rettke’s charges stem from a September 2016 incident in which he showed up to a Black Lives Matter event wearing the mask. He allegedly told police he wanted to provoke protesters.
Denton says he intends to take the case to trial.
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