You might recall these stories [here and here] from 2015 when a group of flaggers in pickup trucks went riding through a black neighborhood in Douglasville, Georgia, shouting racial epithets and threatening to kill African-Americans at a boy’s birthday party. Fifteen were originally indicted for gang terrorism. That was apparently reduced to four, with the others charged with lesser offenses, pleading guilty, and being sentenced to participation in a diversion program. [See this story] Two of those four pleaded guilty and received reduced sentences [four years and two years in prison]. The final two were convicted in a trial and sentenced to twenty years and fifteen years in prison.
According to this story, in addition to the racial intimidation at the birthday party, Assistant District Attorney David Emadi “said the group threatened African-American motorists, yelled at them and walked up to one of their cars with a gun. They also threatened African American shoppers at a Paulding County Walmart and at a convenience store.” According to Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner, “Members of the group pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at the victims. They used racial slurs and threatened to kill some of the party-goers. They even threatened to kill children at the party.”
The two people convicted, Kayla Rae Norton, 25, and Jose Ismael Torres, 26, are an unmarried couple who have three children together [see this story]. After sentencing, they were led away with both sobbing in tears. You can see more coverage here.
Superior Court Judge William McClain wondered aloud why they hadn’t been arrested the day of the incident. He said their actions were motivated by racial hatred.
As usual, this event that involves racial hatred against African-Americans had confederate flags prominently displayed. The fact remains that throughout its history the confederate battle flag has symbolized racial hatred against African-Americans. Anyone who assumes someone who displays it is a racist can be forgiven, since it’s such a symbol of racism.
It’s a heritage of hate.