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Georgia Couple Sentenced For Racist Intimidation

| by Erik Kindel

A Georgia couple found guilty for the racist intimidation of a black family at a boy's 8th birthday party were sentenced Feb. 27.

Jose Torres, 26, and Kayla Norton, 25, have been sentenced to prison for a minimum of 13 and six years, respectively, for their roles in the July 2015 incident, notes the BBC.

The pair wept openly as Douglas County Superior Court Judge William McClain handed down their punishment. They are part of a group of at least 15 people charged with aggravated assault, making terroristic threats, and violating the Georgia Street Gang Act.

According to prosecutors, the pair, along with a large group of at least 15 reported people, drove up to the birthday party in trucks, flying American, Confederate, and military flags. They then stopped, pointed several guns at party attendees, and threatened the birthday child.

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The group, known as "Respect the Flag," was riding through the suburban Atlanta community "drinking alcohol, harassing, and intimidating … citizens because of the color of their skin" said Attorney Brian Fortner in a statement.

The partygoers reported that people in trucks yelled racial slurs as they passed. Then they reportedly parked the trucks near the celebration and a smaller group approached the family. Torres "threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs."

"Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the partygoers 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 district attorney's office said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page, CNN reports.

Norton was sentenced for making similar threats.

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Torres testified that the shotgun was carried to ensure his friends' safety after members of the group said people had thrown objects at their convoy.

"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," said the DA's official statement.

But Norton apologized for participating in the event, 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'm so sorry."

Hyesha Bryant, one of the people at the party, told Norton, "I forgive you, I forgive all of you," according to Fox News.

Sources: CNN, Fox News, BBC News, Douglas County DA/Facebook / Photo credit: AJC.com

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