Fifteen men and women were indicted on terror charges last Friday for allegedly driving by a largely black birthday party outside Atlanta in July while waving Confederate flags, brandishing weapons, using racial slurs, and threatening to kill the party's guests, CNN reports. The indicted—members of a group called Respect the Flag—face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of making terroristic threats and violating Georgia's Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. “These cowards chose unarmed African Americans enjoying a peaceful birthday party to vent their violent, racist hatred,” the Southern Poverty Law Center's chief trial counsel says in a statement. “This is reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan—modern-day night-riders terrorizing African Americans in the name of Southern heritage."
Melissa Alford, who was hosting the birthday party, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that more than a half-dozen trucks drove by multiple times before parking in a field next to her house. According to the SPLC's statement, the people in the trucks threatened to shoot guests, including children. “I’m OK with the flags,” Alford tells WSB-TV. “I’m not OK with them going around threatening people and using racial slurs." Police were called to defuse the situation. Levi Bush, the leader of Respect the Flag and one of the indicted, tells the Journal-Constitution the group was just driving by after leaving a nearby function when party guests started yelling and throwing rocks. Two of the indicted have also been charged with battery in an unrelated incident at an area gas station the same day.