A man and woman from Georgia were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on Monday for their role in a "Respect the Flag" rally last year, which Douglas County Superior Court Judge William McClain called a hate crime.
Back in July, Kayla Rae Norton and Jose Ismael Torres went around Paulding and Douglas counties in a pick-up truck sporting a number of Confederate flags. At one point, Norton and Torres stopped their pick-up truck at the birthday party of an eight-year-old African-American child, flung racial slurs in the family's direction, and allegedly pointed a shotgun at the people in attendance, threatening to kill people at the event, per Austin News NBC news affiliate KXAN. The couple also threatened African-American drivers, yelled at them, and approached one vehicle with a gun.
Torres was sentenced to 20 years, 13 of which will be served in prison, for aggravated assault, street gang terrorism, and terroristic threats. Meanwhile, Norton received 15 years, with six being served behind bars, for terroristic threats and street gang terrorism. “If you drive around town with a Confederate flag, yelling the ‘N’ word, you know how it’s going to be interpreted,” McClain told the couple before handing down their respective sentences. “It’s inexplicable to me that you weren’t arrested by the police that day."
This incident occurred a little more than a month after the Charleston Church Massacre where Dylann Roof killed nine black worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A total of 15 people were indicted for their part in the “Respect the Flag” rally.