Judge sentences 2 people convicted in confederate flag confrontation
- Author: Arturo Norris Feb 28, 2017,
Feb 28, 2017, 6:33
(Douglas County Sheriff's Office) Kayla Norton, a member of the group "Respect The Flag" has been sentenced to 20 years for what the Judge has deemed a hate crime that occurred on July 25, 2015 where members of the group were seen on video displaying Confederate Flags on their vehicles and disrupting a child's birthday party.
The attack, prosecuted under the state's Street Gang Terrorism law, came several weeks after a white supremacist killed nine black worshipers at a SC church, sparking a backlash against public displays of the Confederate battle flag.
Superior Court Judge William McClain, however, said Torres and Norton would have to answer for their behavior. "Their actions were motivated by racial hatred", said McClain.
On Monday, Jose Torres and Kayla Norton learned their fate, sobbing uncontrollably as their sentence came down.
"I forgive you. I forgive all of you", said one family member. Georgia has no hate crime law.
The convoy of trucks pulled up the birthday party for an eight-year-old child and the people started yelling racial slurs and threatened to kill people at the party, WSB reported. They also threatened African American shoppers at a Paulding County Walmart and at a convenience store. They wept in a Douglas County courtroom as a judge imposed their punishments: Torres, 26, convicted of aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and a violating street-gang statute, received 13 years in prison and another seven on probation; Norton, convicted of making terroristic threats and violating the gang law, will serve 6 years in prison and nine on probation. "That is not him", Norton said in court after her sentencing.
A grand jury indicted 15 people in the 'Respect the Flag' group, which said that victims had thrown objects at them, on street gang terrorism charges for the birthday party disruption.
Georgia Department of Corrections efforts show that Thomas Charles Summers was convicted of terrorist threats and battery, and sentenced to six years in prison last year.
During sentencing, the couple weeped, with Torres offering her apologies, with the parents of the targeted birthday boy responding that "life is too short for hate". Two of those pleaded guilty and are serving much lighter sentences.