The trucks were adorned with Confederate and American flags.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is representing some of the offended black people, reports say.
15 of the white men in the trucks were indicted on the vaguely-worded Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
The encounter occurred in Douglasville, Ga. and was reported Oct. 12, 2015.
• The predatory left is expected to use hate crime laws to stifle free speech. In this case those displaying the Confederate flag are being charged with terrorist activities.
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In an unusual legal maneuver, the district attorney in this suburb of Atlanta said Monday that he had won indictments against 15 supporters of the Confederate battle flag, accusing them of violating the state’s anti-street-gang statute during a confrontation with black partygoers in July.
Prosecutors say that members of the group, which calls itself Respect the Flag, threatened a group of blacks attending an outdoor birthday party on July 25. A cellphone video of part of the episode shows several white men driving away from the party in a convoy of pickup trucks with the Confederate battle flag and other banners, including American flags, fluttering from the truck beds.
The partygoers contend that members of the flag group yelled racial slurs and displayed a crowbar, 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.
Mr. Fortner, whose county has transformed from predominantly white to decidedly mixed over the past two decades, said that the Georgia statute upon which the second charge is based, the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, was “worded very broadly to deal with any type of activity that occurs with a group that’s organized that commits a crime.”
None of the accused had been arraigned as of Monday, and it was not clear if they had lawyers representing them. By Monday afternoon, none of them had applied for representation with the county public defenders’ office. But a member of the group told a local newspaper that the black partygoers started the confrontation.
Several criminal lawyers and legal scholars said Monday that they could not recall other instances in which a state anti-gang statute had been used to prosecute a Confederate heritage group in the Deep South. The first version of Georgia’s anti-gang law was passed in 1992 at the behest of Atlanta’s police chief at the time, Eldrin Bell.
The state’s General Assembly, in the law’s statement of intent, noted that citizens retained their rights to freedom of expression and association. But it also declared that Georgia was in a “state of crisis which has been caused by violent criminal street gangs whose members threaten, terrorize and commit a multitude of crimes against the peaceful citizens of their neighborhoods.”
Pickup trucks flying Confederate-themed flags have become a regular sight in many parts of the South since June, when a white gunman, apparently influenced by racist doctrine, massacred nine black worshipers at a Charleston, S.C., church. A subsequent effort by some elected officials in the region to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces has provoked a strong negative reaction from some white Southerners, who argue that the symbols are a part of their history and heritage.
More racist hate crime reports at AbateTheHate.com [click here]
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