A group of white Georgia men and women with an alleged penchant for displaying the Confederate flag while terrorizing innocent black partygoers was just indicted as a street gang—a creative charge that would triple the time they could spend in prison, if convicted.
The indictments, which came down Friday, stem from an alleged July confrontation wherein the Confederate Flag Boys—a gang name I just made up—decided to intimidate a group of black people attending a child’s birthday party.
A cellphone video of part of the episode shows several white men driving away from the party in a convoy of pickup trucks with the Confederate battle flag and other banners, including American flags, fluttering from the truck beds.
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.
When someone from the party said, “There are kids here,” a person from the convoy yelled, “We’ll shoot those bastards, too.”
But what could have been a straightforward indictment for racial threats turned into an interesting procedural tactic when prosecutors brought charges under Georgia’s anti-street gang statutes, which carry a 15-year maximum sentence. (The other charge—making terroristic threats—carries only a five-year maximum sentence.)
Will the Confederate Flag Boys—unlike their Confederate heroes—rise again? Only a jury of their peers can say for sure, which they are expected to do sometime this year.