A Georgia grand jury formally charged 15 members of a group supporting the Confederate flag on terror charges following a July confrontation with a black family who was celebrating a child’s birthday, according to an indictment released Monday. Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said members of the “Respect the Flag” group violated the state’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and made terroristic threats when their caravan of vehicles bearing the rebel flag drove past a neighborhood party. “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 at a news conference attended by FOX5.
The indictment, handed up on Friday, also charges two members of the group with battery for a separate incident that occurred at a gas station on the same day. While video of the Confederate convoy has made its way onto social media, there are two drastically different depictions of what occurred on July 25, with each side blaming the other for generating hostility. This much is not in dispute: numerous pickup trucks, adorned with several large American and Confederate flags, formed a caravan and drove into a neighborhood where a birthday party was being held for a child. CONTINUE