COUPLE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR RACIAL THREATS

Hate is a STRONG word. Why people hate others is probably one of the most baffling issues of all time. There have been people abused, maimed, killed, and even more in the name of hate. Yesterday, hate took center stage in a trial in Georgia and stiff sentences were handed down by the judge. The issue began on July 25, 2015 at an African-American child’s birthday party in a suburban Atlanta community. A group carrying and waving large Confederate flags approached and began to harass and otherwise threaten the group at the party. Hate and alcohol mixed with a gang mentality ignited a firestorm that culminated in jail-time for the culprits. Check out the article that I found on CNN regarding this story:

(CNN)A Georgia couple who rode with a Confederate flag-waving group that made armed threats against African-Americans at a child’s birthday party were sentenced to prison Monday.
Jose “Joe” Torres, was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act.
“Many people tried to make the case about simply flying the Confederate Battle Flag,” Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement. “This case was about a group of people riding around our community, drinking alcohol, harassing and intimidating our citizens because of the color of their skin.”
On July 25, 2015, Torres and Norton, joined about a dozen other people in a convoy of pickup trucks waving large Confederate flags as they drove around Douglas County, a suburban Atlanta community. Most of them belonged to a group called “Respect the Flag.”
“The convoy of trucks passed by the victim’s residence where the victims were grilling hot dogs and hamburgers while hosting a child’s birthday party featuring a bouncy castle, snow-cone machines, and a DJ,” the district attorney’s office posted on its official Facebook page.
The party-goers said the people in the trucks yelled racial slurs as they passed, the statement said.
The drivers parked the trucks near the house, prosecutors said. Torres was part of a smaller group that “threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs against them,” said the statement.
“Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his co-defendants stated that ‘the little ones can get one too,’ referring to the young children at the party,” the statement said.
Norton was accused of making similar threats. The victims said some member of Torres’ group was armed with a knife and a tire tool.
According to the district attorney’s statement, Torres testified he carried the shotgun because he feared for his friends’ safety. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported members of “Respect the Flag” said people at the party had thrown objects at them.
CNN has tried to reach the two defendants’ lawyers for comment.
After the arrests, investigators looked through the defendants’ Facebook accounts, the statement said.
“Law enforcement was able to locate numerous posts and messages indicating that members of the group were white supremacists who discussed attending KKK rallies, joining Skinheads Nation, and making numerous derogatory remarks about African Americans as a whole,” the DA’s statement said.
Video of Monday’s sentencing shot by WSB-TV, a CNN affiliate, showed both Torres and Norton breaking down in court as Judge William McClain handed down the sentence.
Norton apologized for her role in the incident saying, “I want you all to know that is not me. That is not me, that is not him. I would never walk up to you and say those words to you. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am so sorry.”
Hyesha Bryant, one of the people at the party, testified at the hearing and told Norton, “What you said affected my life. It affected my children’s lives.”
But Bryant ended up telling Norton that “I forgive you, I forgive all of you.”
‘They have to learn to forgive themselves’
Melissa Alford, who hosted the birthday party, told HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield on Tuesday that she still feels emotional about what happened in 2015, but justice was served.
“I think Judge Beau McClain did what he had to do” at the sentencing, she said. “I know justice was served.”
Like Bryant, Alford was concerned about the lasting impact the day had on the children at the party, but she also has forgiven the defendants.
“Yes, I did forgive them. They have to learn to forgive themselves for their wrongdoing,” Alford said.
For her, offering forgiveness was more about finding peace. “I’m not going around hating anyone.”
She also shared with Banfield that the children who were at the party are still confused.
One of her grandchildren is white, she added. “How am I supposed to explain the difference between white and black when she doesn’t see that. How are the other kids supposed to explain?”
Banished
A jury convicted Torres and Norton on February 6. They are both banished from Douglas County when they’re released from prison.
Fifteen members of the Respect the Flag group were originally indicted. The disposition of all their cases is unknown, but the district attorney said some of them pleaded guilty to similar charges and received shorter sentences.

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4 thoughts on “COUPLE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR RACIAL THREATS

  1. I can never understand hate like this. We are all wet under the skin. Same blood and bone. I feel very sad whenever stories like this make the news. Knowing there’s more I don’t see or hear about. I live in fake security here too. Racial tension kept in check for economic gain mostly. Yet just simmering below the surface.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a lot that I understand in life but this I will never ever understand. How can someone hate another person just because of the color of their skin? What is wrong with their thought process? Who does that… and what is that all about… and what does that say about an individual who does this?… I’m still as baffled as I can be.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *sigh* Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a human being, like when I see things like this. I don’t honestly care if they want to drive around waving a confederate flag as it is their right under the constitution (now I’m no history buff but coincidentally if I recall the south lost) but stopping to harass people during a child’s birthday party? Making death threats and pulling weapons? My brain just simply cannot process the logic behind this.

    As if in recent events we do not already have enough division and hate to go around we have to get drunk and spread more? We have to set examples to young children that people are this way? I can only pray that the children targeted understand that rage filled ignorant people are a very small percentage of people on this planet. and I can hope that people that see this article take a few moments to consider actions that they can take today and tomorrow to keep things positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was so sad that it was sickening. The good part about it is that we can’t paint everybody with the same brush. There are both good and bad people everywhere you look. With these individuals, you did not have to look far. Sure, we all have a constitutional right yet that right stops at the point that it begins to infringe on the rights of others. I found it quite interesting watching the video of the perpetrators showing “remorse”. Where was this “remorse” when they were in full “supreme-being mode.” I’m glad that they judge saw completely through these menaces to society. I’m delighted that he saw fit to give them the time that they deserved away from society. I hope that both of them learn that love always overrides hate. I liked your words:
      “I can only pray that the children targeted understand that rage filled ignorant people are a very small percentage of people on this planet. and I can hope that people that see this article take a few moments to consider actions that they can take today and tomorrow to keep things positive.”
      I agree wholeheartedly!!!

      Like

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