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Tennessee College Student Wore Gorilla Mask, Handed Out Bananas to Protest Against Black Lives Matters

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Handed Out Noose-Wrapped Bananas

A white 18-year-old East Tennessee State University freshman who was barefoot, wearing a gorilla mask and bib overalls was arrested by campus public safety officers after he disrupted a Black Lives Matter protest by handing out noose-wrapped bananas to the BLM participants and passers-by Wednesday.

The teen, who has been identified as Tristan John Rettke, was taken into custody by the campus police and brought to the Washington County Detention Center. Rettke was arrested and charged with civil rights intimidation violations, after discussion by public safety supervisors, the ETU campus administration and the Washington County District Attorney General’s office. 

Tristan_John_Rettke.jpg
Tristan John Rettke Booking Photo via Washington County TN Sheriff’s Office

According to ETSU Campus Police, Rettke said he went to the Black Lives Matter event “in attempt to provoke the protesters.” In a video taken from Facebook by local television station WJHL Channel 11, Rettke is seen walking around barefoot and wearing overalls and a gorilla mask. According to ETSU Campus officials, he handed out bananas from a burlap sack that had a marijuana leaf and a Confederate flag printed on it.

“Earlier today during a student-led Black Lives Matter event at Borchuck Plaza, our campus community was outraged by the behavior of one student who confronted the participants,” ETSU officials stated in a statement released on Facebook. “The actions of this one individual go against the values of our university where people come first and all are treated with dignity and respect.”

We are exceptionally proud of the students who were peacefully participating in the event and the manner in which they exercised restraint, thoughtfulness and strength in the face of inappropriate and offensive behavior.

The ETSU Department of Public Safety staff responded to the incident. At this time, criminal charges are pending before the local district attorney, and an internal student-conduct investigation has begun.

Our university values diversity, inclusivity and respect for others. In keeping with those values, there will be an opportunity for community dialogue tonight at 7 p.m. inside the D.P. Culp Auditorium. University leadership will be present.

ETSU’s President Brian Noland held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, addressing the incident which he watched happen in almost real time on Facebook.

“I was offended, but I was also saddened,” Noland said, adding, “The nation is not only raw, but it’s healing.” The University president’s remarks were in reference to recent shooting deaths of black males at the hands of law enforcement which has touched off national grief and protest. 

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office told The New Civil Rights Movement that Rettke appeared for an arraignment hearing Thursday and his next court date has been set for Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m. ETSU officials confirmed that he has also been temporarily suspended from the school pending further investigation.

 

Image: Screenshot via WHJL News 11, Johnson City, Tennessee

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COMMENTARY

‘Folks Knew Crimes Were About to Be Committed’: Dem Lawmakers Furious Over Republicans’ Involvement in Jan. 6

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Americans are expressing outrage after a bombshell Rolling Stone report that claims several GOP Members of Congress and their staffs were involved in planning and organizing Donald Trump’s January 6 rally that led to the violent and deadly insurrection, along with “Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss.”

Some of those who are among the most outraged are Democratic Members of Congress, who were in the Capitol on January 6 and feared for their lives. Learning that some of their GOP colleagues were involved in the planning of the rally that precipitated the insurrection has been “triggering,” as one House Democrat revealed, adding that it makes her “blood boil.”

The Rolling Stone article cites two “planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C.,” who allege Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were deeply involved, along with these members of Congress or their aides: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Legal experts have called for those members of Congress and staffers to be expelled if the allegations are true, while one has urged people to “chill,” and let the DOJ do what it needs to.

Related –
‘Just Three Words: Call Your Lawyer’: Legal Experts Weigh in on Bombshell Report Naming Republicans Involved in Jan. 6

But the outrage is palpable.

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) calls the Rolling Stone article “highly disturbing.”

“No one should be above the law,” he says, “including Members of Congress and former White House Staff. And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) says she is “joining the calls for those who helped plan the deadly January 6th insurrection to be immediately expelled.”

“Every Member of Congress that helped to plan the attempted coup of our government shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress.”

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York, says she has “angry tears right now,” citing the Rolling Stone report.

“During 1/6, I, like many, texted loved ones goodbye. Countless people have asked if I’ve been ok since & I’ve always answered truthfully that i was fine. But this article was triggering. How could colleagues be traitors? This makes my blood boil.”

She adds:

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) says the Rolling Stone report is “Further reinforcement of why the work of the” House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack “is so important. If any current members of Congress worked with the insurrectionists who threatened the very government they are a part of, they should be removed from office.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) says reports like the Rolling Stone article “underscore why the work of the Jan. 6th Committee is so important. We must follow all the facts, no matter where they lead.”

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OPINION

Don Jr. Suggests Trump’s New Social Media Site Was Created to Help Republicans Win Elections

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Donald Trump, Jr. is appearing to suggest his father’s new social media platform, Truth Social, was created to help Republicans win elections.

Appearing on far right host Sebastian Gorka’s Newsmax show that aired Sunday, Trump Jr. was asked in a segment about the new social media site what his “specific message” is “to those who had just kind of given up on the idea of America and free and fair elections.”

Trump Jr. did not hesitate.

“Let’s stay in the game,” he replied, after discussing Truth Social for several minutes and urging viewers to join. “I mean, you know, these are all steps that we’re taking to make sure that we can level that playing field, the playing field has been so biased for so long, right?” he claimed.

“We’ve been playing T ball while the other side has been playing hardball and doing whatever it takes,” Trump Jr. said, despite some Republicans working to overturn the free and fair 2020 presidential election.

“You know, Donald Trump opened the door for conservatives to start pushing back, to play the game the way the other side has done it. We need to keep doing that, we need to stay in this game. They would love for us just to tuck tail to run to turn the other cheek to be dejected, to take our ball and go home. We can’t allow that to happen, we have to stay in the game we have to stay involved we have to be vocal and we have to be unafraid.”

And even though Facebook was formed in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Microsoft in 1980, and Apple in 1976,  he also seemed to suggest that “Big Tech” or social media platforms have been working against Republicans for 50 years.

“And if we do that and you look at what’s going on right now with the insanity of this administration and all of the leftist agenda, you realize, Americans are waking up. It’s about time, but they’re finally doing it and we’re actually able to put up a front against a huge, huge platform that has been working against us, for half a century.”

Watch:

 

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COMMENTARY

‘Just Three Words: Call Your Lawyer’: Legal Experts Weigh in on Bombshell Report Naming Republicans Involved in Jan. 6

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Legal experts including a Harvard professor and a top election and voting rights law attorney are weighing in on Sunday night’s bombshell report from Rolling Stone naming members of Congress and the Trump administration who were involved in the planning and organizing of the January 6 rally and/or “Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss,” according to two of the planners of the “Stop the Steal” rally.

Rolling Stone reports “planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.”

Those named in the Rolling Stone report as allegedly being involved include Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and these members of Congress or their staffers: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Harvard professor, CNN Analyst, Grip Mobility CEO, well-known national security expert and former Obama Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem says clearly: “Mark Meadows, just three words: call your lawyer.”

Marc Elias, a top election law attorney who oversaw the 50-state response to the Trump campaign’s attempts contesting the 2020 election for the DNC calls for every member of Congress involved to be “expelled.”

Elie Mystal, the Justice Correspondent for The Nation says this is a matter for the DOJ:

“The potential that Members of Congress were deeply involved in the failed Trump Coup is another reason AG Garland must appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Jan. 6th,” says former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who also makes clear this is a matter for DOJ. “There are Congressional staff who can testify to the involvement of Members.”

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, is calling it the “mother of all cover-ups.”

Attorney Maya Wiley, an MSNBC and NBC News Legal Analyst and senior vice president for social justice at The New School says it “Certainly explains how hard GOP tried to derail” the January 6 Committee.

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