(CN) – Fifteen people have been indicted on charges of engaging in terrorist and gang-related activities after they allegedly drove past a black child’s birthday party in a convoy of pickup truck waving Confederate flags and hurling racial slurs at partygoers.
The 10 men and five women indicted by a Douglas County, Ga. grand jury October 9, are allegedly members of “Respect the Flag,” a loosely organized group that formed in response to the movement to remove the Confederate flag from public places in the wake of the Charleston, S.C. church massacre.
A cellphone video of the July 25 incident shows several white individuals driving away from the party with the Confederate and U.S. flags waving from the beds of their vehicles.
Partygoers told prosecutors that in addition to hurling epithets at them, members of the group waved guns, knives and crowbars at them.
Some partygoers posted cellphone videos of the confrontation on social media. One video shows Douglasville police officers attempting to diffuse the situation as the trucks drove by exchanging barbs with the partygoers.
“Bye! Have a good day! We see you too, baby,” one woman yelled at the trucks. She could then be heard yelling, “That’s a threat!” in response to a comment from one of the individuals.
Within days of the accident, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, joined the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office and the Douglasville Police Department to investigate the incident.
Evidence gathered during that investigation was turned over to the grand jury, which handed down indictments charging the group with violations of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and with making terroristic threats.
Two members of the group were also charged with battery for an incident that occurred the same day at a gas station in an area of Douglas County known as the “Corn Crib.”
“These cowards chose unarmed African Americans enjoying a peaceful birthday party to vent their violent racist hatred, said Morris Dees, chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“This is reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan — modern-day night-riders terrorizing African Americans in the name of Southern heritage.”
The Douglas County District Attorney, Brian Fortner, said in announcing indictments, that some of those indicted have already been arrested, and that other arrests will be announced soon.
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