The Black Lives Matter movement has been an extremely polarizing topic in this country. We’ve seen celebrities, athletes and public figures get criticized for simply associating themselves with the thoughts and ideals of the movement. And just recently, an Ohio attorney was sentenced to jail for five days after she refused to take off her Black Lives Matter pin.
Andrea Burton represented a client in Municipal Court in Youngstown, Ohio, on Friday. Judge Robert Milich presided over the courtroom and, upon noticing Burton’s pin, asked her to remove it. In fact, he asked her to remove the pin more than once and cited the Supreme Court ruling that allows judges to prohibit certain attire and political symbols in court.
After Burton continued to refuse, he called her into his chambers to discuss the issue. When they returned and she still refused to comply, she was arrested for contempt of court and sentenced to a jail term of five days.
Although she has been sentenced, Burton has been released while she appeals the sentence. The story has since spread and people are debating whether or not the judge made the right choice.
“A judge doesn’t support either side,” Judge Milich 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.”
Milich believes that a symbol that represents a political issue can be a disruption in a court room and by law he has a right to ask anyone to remove an article that he believes would impede a client’s right to a fair trial.
However, Burton believes that she was wearing a symbol that represents problems within the current justice system.
“It’s an act of civil disobedience, I understand that. I’m not anti-police, I work with law enforcement and I hold them in the highest regard, and just to say for the record I do believe all lives matter. But at this point they don’t all matter equally, and that’s the problem in the justice system,” Burton said.
The local chapter of the NAACP believes that her civil rights may have been violated and will be watching the appeal.