Terror Charges for Confederate Flag-Toting Group ‘Respect the Flag’
“This is a child’s birthday party!”
A woman’s voice is heard on video shouting at a caravan of at least four pickup trucks, each flying Confederate flags, as they pass a party in Douglasville, Ga., the passengers allegedly hurling racial epithets at the attendees. Now 15 people associated with the Confederate flag-toting movement Respect the Flag have been charged with making terroristic threats that day.
Video from the July 25 incident caught the female voice shouting at the passing trucks—and one passenger saying the n-word. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the armed men allegedly said “kill y’all [n-word].”
“One had a gun, saying he was ‘gonna kill the [racial slur],’” the birthday party’s host told the paper. “Then one of them said, ‘Gimme the gun, I’ll shoot them [racial slur].’”
The pro-Confederate flag group’s leader, Levi Bush, initially told the press that he and his colleagues “drive around and sell flags,” likely in response to the renewed controversy surrounding the flag following the June murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C.
The Respect the Flag Facebook page includes a photograph of its members with a crudely made flag portraying the infamous battle symbol adjacent to President Obama’s face.
Bush told police that his group had been threatened by the birthday partygoers and that he and his friends had to hold off a group of “15 to 20 of them.”
But on Friday afternoon, a Douglas County grand jury found sufficient evidence to charge Bush and 14 others with violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act—a recent law aimed at helping prosecutors establish criminal links between gang members—and making terroristic threats.
According to county district attorney Brian Fortner, the two counts, both felonies, carry a maximum sentence of 15 and five years, respectively. Additionally, two of the 15 accused, Joe Eric Hood and Thomas Charles Summers, were charged with a misdemeanor battery offense related to an incident at a gas station the same day.
Two days before the incident in question, Bush posted a ride-along video of a cohort’s pickup truck flying multiple Confederate symbols: the Virginia rebel flag; the now-retired Georgia state flag, which used battle flag imagery; and the original Confederate “Bonnie Blue” flag.
Arrests of the 15 named individuals began on Friday and continued into Monday, officials told The Daily Beast.