A grand jury in a suburb of Atlanta handed down indictments against 15 white members of a group supporting the Confederate flag for their role in a confrontation with a black family hosting an outdoor birthday party in July. Members of the “Respect the Flag” group have been accused of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism Prevention Act and making terroristic threats in July while the country debated the role of the Confederate flag in public life following the racially motivated shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“The partygoers contend that members of the flag group yelled racial slurs and displayed a crow bar, a knife and either a rifle or a shotgun, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights group in Montgomery, Ala., that is representing some of the accusers,” the New York Times reports.
Here’s more on the confrontation in Douglasville, Georgia from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Melissa Alford, who was hosting the July 25 party, said at the time a convoy of Confederate flag-bearing pickup trucks and their passengers interrupted the celebration with threats and racial epithets. Cellphone video posted on social media showed Douglasville officers holding back a group of black men and women as at least seven pickup trucks drive off. The trucks’ white passengers were seen riding with Confederate, American and military flags flapping on poles mounted on their vehicles. Another video showed trucks gathered on a grassy area, and at least one racial slur can be heard. Alford said the trucks drove by several times before parking in the field next to her house.
One member of the Confederate flag group recounted the interaction differently to the Journal-Constitution in July saying: “[H]is group was leaving a nearby event when they drove by Alford’s home and the partygoers started yelling at the trucks in front of him. They then threw rocks at his vehicle, he said.”