BEDFORD, N.H. — A Baptist pastor said he was forced to remove a "Black Lives Matter" T-shirt he was wearing Thursday at a Donald Trump campaign rally in New Hampshire.
Mark Ferrin, a 65-year-old pastor from Keene, told BuzzFeed News security officers pulled him aside and ordered him to remove the Black Lives Matter shirt he was wearing after he entered the venue.
Ferrin said it wasn't the first time it has happened to him. He wore the same shirt, covered up by another, to a Trump rally in his own town last year. When Trump began speaking about racial issues, Ferrin removed the plain shirt to reveal the Black Lives Matter one.
"Within a minute," a couple of people from Trump's security team told him to either put the plain shirt back on or he'd be kicked out, he said.
"I said to them, 'Why?'" Ferrin said. "And they said, 'because that’s a protest.' I said, 'I thought this was my first amendment right.' And they told me, 'We'll have to escort you out if you don’t put your shirt back on.'"
Ferrin said they told him that "because it was a private event, First Amendment rights were out the window."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.
Ferrin speculated the security team for the event may have recognized him Thursday, or noticed the neon shirt poking out of the top of his purple polo when they pulled him aside.
"They said they thought it would be better for me if I took it off," Ferrin said. "They didn’t want it to cause any problems."
Security offered to hold onto the shirt so Ferrin could retrieve it after the rally. He complied, in hopes of still being able to educate rally-goers about Black Lives Matter.
“A lot of people here said to me that 'all lives matter,'" he said. "I tried to explain to them that I don’t think all lives actually matter until black lives also matter."
Ferrin said he identifies as a liberal-leaning independent. He considered voting third party, but decided to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton because "I really don't want Trump to get in."
"Mr. Trump talks about free speech," he said. "Here we are in New Hampshire — 'Live Free Or Die.' I was trying to live free and speak my opinion, and I’m sad and fearful that we’re losing some of those rights."
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at email@example.com.
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