Youngstown attorney concedes ‘Black Lives Matter’ pin under judge’s control

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown attorney who was charged with contempt of court for not removing a “Black Lives Matter’ pin has agreed to close the case on her appeal.

In court documents filed Thursday in the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio, Attorney Andrea Burton said she likened to wearing the pin with those who wear pink ribbons for cancer awareness or police officers who wear black bands to show solidarity for fallen officers.

However, she conceded that a courtroom was not a venue for the display.

Burton entered the following statement on court record:

After reading the applicable law, and consulting with my attorneys, I now understand that a courtroom is a non-public forum over which Judge Millich had the authority to dictate decorum.

Burton’s attorney, Edward Gilbert, said in a statement:

We are pleased with this resolution and we hope the Youngstown Municipal Court follows through with his promise to update his dress code policy so that all Youngstown citizens are treated equally.

The NAACP Youngstown Branch thanked Gilbert Friday for protecting the First Amendment right to free speech. In a statement, President George Freeman, Jr. said:

We are all relieved that all parties saw the value in reaching a fair and just settlement.

Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich said Burton was in contempt of court for refusing to remove the pin in his courtroom as instructed last month.

Burton was sentenced to five days in jail, but was released on a stay during her appeal.

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