Crime

Confederate flag backers indicted on terrorism charges in clash with black partygoers

In this June 30, 2015 photo, a Confederate flag flies at the base of Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
In this June 30, 2015 photo, a Confederate flag flies at the base of Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman) AP

Confederate flag supporters who became involved in a confrontation with a black family hosting a birthday party in Douglas County this summer have been indicted on charges filed under a state's anti-terroristic threats law.

District Attorney Brian Fortner's office said a grand jury handed down the indictments Friday against 15 members of the group "Respect the Flag." The DA said the group violated the state's Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and is accused of making terroristic threats. Two members also are accused of battery.

The black family said a convoy of Confederate flag-bearing pickup trucks and their passengers interrupted a child's July 25 birthday party 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. Melissa Alford, the woman hosting the party, said the trucks drove by several times before parking in the field next to her house.

Levi Bush, who was driving one of the trucks and was named in the indictment, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in July that the convoy was leaving a nearby event and just happened to drive by the home. He said partygoers started yelling at the convoy and throwing rocks.

Complete coverage of Confederate flag controversy

The incident occurred amid renewed debate over government-sponsored Confederate displays in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of nine black worshippers in Charleston, S.C. this summer by a suspected white supremacist who embraces the Civil War era symbol.

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