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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — A former East Tennessee State University student accused of civil rights intimidation during a Black Lives Matter demonstration is seeking to have the charges against him dismissed.

The Johnson City Press reported Sunday that Tristan Rettke’s attorney filed a motion last week to dismiss charges of civil rights intimidation.

The then-freshman Rettke attended a September rally at a free-speech zone on campus wearing a gorilla mask and overalls and carrying a burlap sack with a Confederate flag. He also dangled a banana with a rope around it while offering bananas to demonstrators.

Campus police arrested and charged Rettke with civil rights intimidation. The motion filed by his attorney, Patrick Denton, says the statutes Rettke was charged under are the same ones that protect the free speech he was exhibiting.


Information from: Johnson City Press,