- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2017

A former East Tennessee State University student who wore a gorilla mask and passed out bananas at an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally has been indicted by a grand jury.

Tristan Rettke, who withdrew from the Johnson City university after the Sept. 28 incident, was indicted in Washington County on two counts of civil rights intimidation, two counts of disorderly conduct and disrupting a meeting, The Associated Press reported.

Video from the otherwise peaceful event at the university’s Borchuck Plaza showed Mr. Rettke, who is white, wearing blue denim overalls and a gorilla mask and dangling a banana tied to a rope in front of black rally goers.


TOP STORIES
John Kennedy mocks Nancy Pelosi: 'It must suck to be that dumb'
Impeachment witness too repulsed by Trump to walk by hotel: 'I had to cross the street'
'Dirty cops': FBI leaves trail of lies, leaks, lapses in Trump era


Police said at the time that Mr. Rettke told investigators he was trying to provoke Black Lives Matter protesters.

Witnesses testified during a preliminary hearing in December that Mr. Rettke used racial slurs and intimidated them, the AP reported.



Mr. Rettke’s attorney, Patrick Denton, said his client was exercising his First Amendment rights and did not intimidate anyone.

Mr. Rettke is free on $10,000 bond and is due for his first appearance in criminal court on April 10, the Johnson City Press reported.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide