Mixed verdict in gorilla mask trial
(WCYB/NBC News) A man who wore a gorilla mask and dangled bananas at a Tennessee Black Lives Matter rally was found not guilty on four of five charges Wednesday.
Tristan Rettke celebrated with his family after the jury announced the verdict.
It comes nearly three years after Rettke appeared at a Black Lives Matter Rally on the East Tennessee State University Campus.
“Everyone saw the video. He had an opinion out there same way that they had opinions,” Patrick Denton, Rettke’s attorney said after the verdict. “I’m not going to take up to the substance of it. He had the right to voice his message and he did that.”
Rettke was found guilty on one misdemeanor count of disrupting a meeting.
The jury found him not guilty on two counts of civil rights intimidation, and not guilty of two counts of disorderly conduct.
“It’s crazy to see his opinions, see how he correlated us to animals, gorillas, saying why he did it. It was just amazing but it’s just like re-opening it up for all of us. We’re right back where we started three years ago,” said witness Trevor King.