An Ohio judge jailed an attorney on Friday (July 22) when she refused to remove a Black Lives Matter pin during a hearing. Andrea Burton was sentenced to five days in custody and removed from court in handcuffs, after Youngstown Municipal Judge Robert Milich found her in contempt.
“He indicated to me that he didn’t know whether I was trying to seek attention from the news or whatever the case was, but that legally I’m not aloud to wear it,” Burton said. “I deferred and said I’m respecting my First Amendment right.”
Burton added that she told the judge, “ I’m not neutral in injustice and to remain neutral becomes an accomplice to oppression.
Burton was released on a stay of appeal. However, she must refrain from wearing things that make political statements in court.
“A judge doesn’t support either side,” Milich explained to WKBN. “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.”
Local community activist Kim Akin feels there’s a hypocrisy at play. “No one wearing an American flag button, no one wearing a crucifix or a Star of David would be removed, so why this particulate statement bothered him so much is borthersome,” she said.
Millich said Burton’s pin doesn’t fall in the same category. “There’s a difference between a flag, a pin from your church or the Eagles, and having a pin that’s on a political issue,” he said.
The Youngstown NAACP is monitoring the case, and questions whether or not Burton’s civil rights were violated.
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