Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Attorney to Challenge Law Used in Gorilla Mask Case

by Associated Press /
Eastern Tennessee State University student disrupted an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally while wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a rope and bananas.Tony Casey / Johnson City Press

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — The attorney for a former Eastern Tennessee State University student says his client was acting within his First Amendment rights when police say he disrupted an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally while wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a rope and bananas.

Eastern Tennessee State University student disrupted an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally while wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a rope and bananas.Tony Casey / Johnson City Press

News 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 law used to bring a civil rights intimidation charge against Rettke.

RELATED: Black Community Coping with 'Recycled Trauma' After Charleena Lyles

Rettke also faces disorderly conduct and disruption of a meeting or procession charges.

The charges stem from a September 2016 incident in which he showed up at a Black Lives Matter event wearing the mask. He told police he wanted to provoke protesters.

Denton says he intends to take the case to trial.

Follow NBCBLK on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram

MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.