Fifteen members of a group supporting the confederate flag are facing terrorism charges after a July confrontation with a black family who were celebrating a child’s birthday.
Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner accused members of the “Respect the Flag” group of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act when they made “terroristic threats” as they drove by the birthday party in their caravan of vehicles.
“We do want to say that we respect the rights of all citizens to exercise their First Amendment right, but we’re going to require them when they’re doing that to respect the right of all of the citizens to feel safe,” Fortner said, according to Fox News.
Black partygoers claim that the group members heard racial slurs and threats at them.
“Officers on scene were given conflicting statements as to what led up to the confrontation,” the Douglasville Police Department said in a statement. “We do not have any evidence of any shots fired nor were there any reports of a physical altercation taking place.”
The indictment was handed down by a Georgia court this week, and it says the group threatened, “to commit a crime of violence to persons attending a party” with the “purpose of terrorizing those individuals and in reckless disregard for the risk of causing such terror.”
Robert Andrew Hansard, John Anthony Allen, Lacey Paul Henderson, Joe Eric Hood, Levi Devin Bush, Ashley Elizabeth Butler, Alexis Odell Fennell, Lacey Paul Henderson, Jose Ismael Torres, Amanda Sue Dyson, Jeffery Chad Wigley, Gregory Adam Upchurch, Scott Chapman, Thomas Charles Summers and Judy King Summers were each charged with violating the state’s terrorism laws. Hood and Thomas Summers have also been charged with battery in a confrontation that occurred during this incident.
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