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Confederate Flag Supporters In Georgia Indicted On Terrorism Charges

After a gunman, motivated by racist ideas, killed nine black church goers in Charleston, S.C., in June, some elected officials in the South have tried to remove the Confederate flag from public places. Some Southerners protest that the flag has a public role as a symbol of their heritage.

On Monday, 15 supporters of the Confederate battle flag were indicted on terrorism charges in Douglas County, a suburb of Atlanta.

The 15 accused are charged with making terroristic threats and violating an anti-street gang ordinance during a July 25 incident in which a group of white men in Confederate and American flag-adorned pickup trucks clashed with a group of black people attending an outdoor party.

The incident, caught on cellphone video, shows the men, who prosecutors say are part of a group called "Respect The Flag," driving away from the scene. As police separate the black partygoers from the retreating trucks, one person attending the party can be heard asking the police to stay at the scene because she doesn't feel safe. Another woman at the party says, "that's a threat," in response to a remark made by one of the men in the trucks.

The New York Times reports:

"The partygoers contend that members of the flag group yelled racial slurs and displayed a crow bar, 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."

According to the Times, Douglas County district attorney Brian Fortner said, "We respect the rights of all citizens to exercise their First Amendment right. But we're going to require them, when doing that, to respect the rights of all of the citizens to feel safe and secure."

The Times adds that two of the 15 indicted, Joe Eric Hood and Thomas Summers, were also indicted on an "unrelated count of battery stemming from an episode at a gas station called the Corn Crib." Fortner said the accuser was white, but declined to comment further.

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