Confederate Flag Group Indicted On Terrorism Charges For Crashing Black Kid's Party
A grand jury handed down indictments for 15 white members of the "Respect Our Flag" gang, months after they harassed and threatened a black family gathering in Douglas County, GA. The band of men drove around in a black pickup brandishing guns and yelling racial epithets at dozens of African-Americans attending a child's birthday party.
District Attorney Brian Fortner's office is prosecuting them under the state's anti-terroristic threat law, Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism Prevention Act.
“The individuals charged will be arraigned, will have the charges presented to them, then [comes] the process of giving them their due process and their day in court,” Fortner told Channel 2 Action News.
According to The New York Times, the Georgia statute upon which the charge of terrorism is based was “worded very broadly to deal with any type of activity that occurs with a group that’s organized that commits a crime.” Witnesses say the men waved a crowbar, a knife and either a shotgun or rifle, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The incident came in July amidst calls for governments and corporations to disavow the confederate flag in the wake of the racially-motivated Charleston Church shooting that left nine dead. Across the country, several groups, mostly white supremacist in nature, organized "confederate pride" rallies in protest. The men of the "Respect Our Flag" gang, according to prosecutors, took their outrage further, entering the grounds of Melissa Alford, 44, and threatening her guests.
The New York Times spoke to several experts, and none could recall a time Georgia's "anti-gang" statute had been used on white supremacists. It's typical application is against black gangs, including those affiliated with black "rap groups", according to LeeAnne Lynch, a public defender in DeKalb County, GA.