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Calls For Removal Of Confederate Flag Outside SC Statehouse Grow In Wake Of Race-Fueled Charleston Church Shooting

Source: Win McNamee / Getty


Kayla Rae Norton, 25, and Jose Ismael Torres, 26, were recently sentenced for parading through an 8-year old’s birthday party with confederate flags, armed threats and racial slurs. The Douglas county Superior Court Judge William McClain sentence Torres to 20 years, with 13 to serve in prison and Norton with 15 years, with 6 to serve in prison for the hate crime. The two defendants are also permanently banished from Douglas County.

The birthday party Norton and Torres crashed was made up of mostly Black family members and friends. It was one of many stops Norton’s group made in a drunken rampage. The group called themselves “Respect the Flag” and they drove through two counties in a pickup truck decorated with Confederate flags, threatening everyone from Black motorists to mall shoppers. Some members of the group were armed, even walking up to people’s cars showcasing their guns. Their stop at the birthday party can be watched below.

 During the court proceedings, Norton addressed some of the people who attended the birthday party. She says, “I do accept responsibility for what I’ve done…What happened to you is absolutely awful. From mother to mother, I cannot imagine having to explain what that word means.”
One of the birthday party attendants, Hyesha Bryant, 34, forgave Norton and Torres explaining, “I never thought this would be something I’d have to endure in 2017…as adults and parents, we have to instill in our children the values of right and wrong.” Then she looked Norton and Torres in the eye and said, “I forgive all of you…I don’t have any hate in my heart. Life is too short for that.”
Two other defendants, Thomas Charles Summers and Lacey Paul Henderson II pleaded guilty to terrorist threats and battery charges, receiving less time than Norton and Torres. Summers is serving four years in prison, while Henderson is serving two.

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