Youngstown, Ohio, attorney Andrea Burton was removed from court and taken into custody after a judge declared her in contempt for refusing to take off a Black Lives Matter pin.
WKBN reports that Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich said that Burton was in contempt of court for refusing to remove the button in his courtroom after he asked her to do so at an earlier date. Burton was sentenced to five days in jail, but she will remain out of jail during the appeals process as long as “as she obeys Milich’s order not to wear items that make a political statement in court,” according to WKBN.
Milich said his opinions, biases or feelings have nothing to do with his decision.
“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,” he said. The judge said his ruling is based on Supreme Court case law.
“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,” Milich said.
Although Burton, through her attorney, has not commented on the case, activist and attorney Kim Akins spoke to WKBN. “No one wearing an American flag would be removed, no one wearing a crucifix or star of David would be removed, so why does this particular subject bother [the judge] so much?” Akins asks.
George Freeman Jr., president of the Youngstown branch of the NAACP, released a statement Friday (pdf). “We will do all that the NAACP Youngstown can do to ensure that Attorney Burton’s Constitutional rights are not being violated,” he said.
Read more at WKBN.