District Judge Douglas Herndon's courtroom was packed Thursday because of something no bigger than a quarter.
"I'm taking off the button, I will not wear it in this courtroom in the future," said Erika Ballou, a deputy public defender. She was speaking about a Black Lives Matter pin.
Earlier this week, Judge Herndon told Ballou to take off her Black Lives Matter pin in court. She kept it on and left. Thursday, they hashed out his reasoning for the decision, and her response, for more than an hour.
On one side, the judge says this could be seen as a political stance and the courtroom has to be a neutral place. For so many others, though, this isn't about politics. It's about standing in solidarity.
"What people like Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott experience isn't just word of mouth; it's a reality," said Jonathan MacArthur, a criminal defense attorney who spoke in court Thursday.
It's an especially hard pill to swallow since Ballou says she wore a pin supporting Bernie Sanders for months in the same courtroom without so much as a word.
"It's not an accident that he is this vigilant about a Black Lives Matter pin. That is not an accident. It's not an accident that he's overlooked Feel the Bern pins. It's not an accident that he's overlooked law enforcement insignia on the lapels of district attorneys," said Sarah Hawkins, an attorney who watched the back and forth in Judge Herndon's court while wearing a black lives matter pin.
In the end, Ballou took off the pin, but many are going to keep a close eye on Judge Herndon's courtroom, making sure other symbols will be held to the exact same standard.