Hearing re-scheduled for former ETSU student charged with civil rights intimidation

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A former East Tennessee State University student, who disrupted a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in September, made a brief appearance in court Wednesday.

Police arrested Tristan Rettke after they say attempted to provoke students by wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a bag with a rebel flag on it. Students captured video of the incident and it sparked outrage among people from all across the nation.

Rettke is facing charges of civil rights intimidation.

His preliminary hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, was moved to next month.

Rettke’s attorney, Patrick Denton, maintains his client did nothing wrong.

“It’s our opinion that he was asserting his first amendment right, the same way that the other individuals were. It’s kind of my obligation not to pollute the jury pool but that’s going to be part of his defense here and also he had no intent to intimidate anyone,” Denton said.

Rettke’s preliminary hearing was re-scheduled for December 19 at 9 a.m.

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