With all the blatant racism happening in America these days, it’s hard to tell if we’re living in 2016 or 1966.
African American students at East Tennessee State University know the feeling all too well, after having their peaceful Black Lives Matter protest interrupted by a white guy wearing a gorilla mask, carrying around a rope and trying to hand out bananas.
In a video that has since gone viral, the camera man thanks the protesters for staying peaceful while the racist continued taunting them. The young man who seemed to be leading the protest gracefully responded, “He’s just trying to get a reaction out of us that we’re not going to give him.”
Watch the video below!
According to reports, the gorilla mask wearing racist is ETSU freshman Tristan Rettke, and he’s being charged with one count of civil rights intimidation in connection with the incident that took place on Wednesday. The Johnson City Police Department in Tennessee says that Rettke told officers he bought the rope, bananas and gorillas mask on Tuesday then went to Wednesday’s protest “in attempt to provoke the protesters.”
East Tennessee State University officials released a statement, assuring the public the criminal charges are pending against Rettke saying:
“Earlier today (Sept. 28, 2016) 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. 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.”
Shout out to the Black Lives Matter protesters for remaining graceful during such an intense moment.
Source: WBIR|PHOTOCREDIT: Getty, Instagram
A Week Of Protest For Michael Brown: Ferguson, Missouri In Pictures (PHOTOS)
1. Protester stands his ground as police throw tear gas.Source:Getty 1 of 20
2. Demonstrator holds sign during a protest of the shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown.Source:Getty 2 of 20
3. Police officer watches protest concealing his/her identity.Source:Getty 3 of 20
4. Demonstrators in the streets of Ferguson protest after the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown.Source:Getty 4 of 20
5. Ferguson police line up with riot gear where protesters are demonstrating.Source:Getty 5 of 20
6. Ferguson police throw tear gas to disperse crowds protesting in the streets.Source:Getty 6 of 20
7. Police surround and detain two people in a car as protests reach their fourth night in a row.Source:Getty 7 of 20
8. Demonstrators out protesting the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.Source:Getty 8 of 20
9. Police stand and watch protesters.Source:Getty 9 of 20
10. Demonstrator holds sign at protest of the Michael Brown shooting.Source:Getty 10 of 20
11. Demonstrator walks away after being ordered off the street by police.Source:Getty 11 of 20
12. Demonstrators protest the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.Source:Getty 12 of 20
13. Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed by the governor to take control of security operations in the city of Ferguson, walks with protesters.Source:Getty 13 of 20
14. Crowds gather to protest the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.Source:Getty 14 of 20
15. People react to the naming of the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown.Source:Getty 15 of 20
16. People react to the naming of the officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown.Source:Getty 16 of 20
17. In the parking lot of a gas station, which was burned during rioting, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announces the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.Source:Getty 17 of 20
18. Police armed with rubber bullets during protest.Source:Getty 18 of 20
19. Memorial for Michael Brown stands in the middle of the street where he was gunned down.Source:Getty 19 of 20
20. Police watch as demonstrators protest the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.Source:Getty 20 of 20