Belligerent Confederate Flag Wavers Sentenced to Prison

A tattoo of a Confederate flag decorates the arm of William Phillips, of Griffin, Ga., as he waves a Confederate flag after hiking to the top of Stone Mountain during a rally with flag supporters Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Stone Mountain, Ga. The rally was organized in response to a proposal to place a monument dedicated to the Martin Luther King Jr. at the top of the mountain. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A man and a woman were sentenced Monday to 13 and six years in prison, respectively, for joining a group of Confederate flag supporters who in 2015 drove around a small Georgia community threatening people, including a gathering of African-Americans celebrating a young boy’s birthday.

The attack, prosecuted under the state’s Street Gang Terrorism law, came several weeks after a white supremacist killed nine black worshipers at a South Carolina church, sparking a backlash against public displays of the Confederate battle flag. The Georgia group called itself Respect the Flag, and prior to the attack was seen driving in a convoy of trucks flying rebel flags, shouting threats at black people, authorities said.

The two sentenced Monday, Jose Torres and Kayla Norton, who authorities said yelled racist slurs and threatened the birthday revelers with a shotgun, were the last of the group to be sentenced. 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, 25, convicted of making terroristic threats and violating the gang law, will serve 6 years in prison and nine on probation. Both were also banished from Douglas County, a racially diverse community a few miles west of Atlanta.