Ohio Attorney Jailed For Wearing Black Lives Matter Pin
Screenshot via WKBN
An attorney in Youngstown, Ohio, was put into jail last week for wearing a Black Lives Matter pin during a court appearance.
Attorney Andrea Burton was defending a client in court this past Friday, when Judge Robert Milich of the Youngstown Municipal Court noticed her wearing a Black Lives Matter pin the size of a nickel. He asked her to remove the pin but she refused, resulting in Milich instructing the bailiffs to take Burton into custody for contempt. According to a news report from WKNB First News, Burton was forced to leave her client behind.
Though Burton was released after her lawyer filed an appeal, she still faces spending five days behind bars if denied, according to Youngstown's NAACP president George Freeman, Jr.
Because of the incident activists within the community are stepping in to support Burton, although it's unknown if protestors are organizing under the Black Lives Matter umbrella or not. "There's been community organizations that have taken a look at this, and while I cannot go into what they're gonna do, there are probably going to be some protests," NAACP attorney Kim Akinstold the Huffington Post in a news report.
In WKNB's report Milich said his opinions had nothing to do with his decision. "A judge doesn't support either side," he said. "A judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law."
Judges have free reign when it comes to what's said or worn in their courtrooms, but those restrictions must be reasonable and fairly applied, which Akins doesn't believe is the case.
"No one wearing an American flag button, no one wearing a crucifix or a Star of David would be removed, so why this particular statement bothered him so much is bothersome," she said.
As for Burton, the attorney will stay out of jail during the appeals process as long as she obeys Milich's order not to wear items that make a political statement in court.
We'll continue to update on this case as more information is revealed.