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Student who wore gorilla mask at Black Lives Matter rally indicted on charges

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) _ A grand jury has indicted a former East Tennessee State University student who police said disrupted an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally while wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a rope and bananas.

Assistant District Attorney Erin McArdle confirmed this week to news outlets that a Washington County grand jury indicted Tristan Rettke of Hendersonville on two counts of civil rights intimidation, two counts of disorderly conduct and disrupting a meeting.

Tristan Rettke

Police say Rettke dressed in overalls, wore a gorilla mask and dangled bananas tied with rope in people’s faces at the Sept. 28 protest.

Witnesses testified that Rettke used racial slurs, intimidated them and made them fearful.

His attorney Patrick Denton says Rettke was exercising his freedom of speech and did not intimidate anyone.