A couple in Georgia have been jailed after they stormed into a black eight-year-old boy's birthday party waving Confederate flags and made racist threats.
Jose Ismael Torres, 26, and Kayla Rae Norton, 25, were jailed for 13 and six years respectively after they were convicted under a street gang terrorism law for committing the hate crime at the birthday party in Douglassville, just outside Atlanta, in 2015.
The pair, parents to three children, were members of a group called Respect The Flag, who drove round in vehicles to harass adults and children – including threatening to "kill all n****s" while displaying the Confederate flag.
After harassing and threatening those who were at the birthday party, the convey of vehicles went on to terrorise those in a nearby Wal-Mart and convenience store.
The incident occurred less than a month after white supremacists Dylann Roof murdered nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015.
Superior Court Judge William McClain said the pair's actions were "motivated by racial hate". He sentenced Torres to 20 years, with 13 to serve in prison and Norton 15 years, with six to serve. Upon their release, both defendants will be permanently banished from Douglas County, reported AJC.
Addressing the victims at the party, Norton said she regretting her actions and broke down in tears at her sentencing. She said: "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." Norton was referring to the racial epithet hurled at the party attendees, which included adults and small children.
Hyesha Bryant, one of those who was at the party, said she forgave the couple as she has "no hate" in her heart. She added: "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. That moment you had to choose to leave, you stayed."
Following their sentence, Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said: "This is behaviour that even supporters of the Confederate battle flag can agree is criminal and shouldn't be allowed."
Roof, who was handed the death penalty for the mass shooting in Charleston, was frequently photographed with the Confederate flag which is widely seen as a symbol for racism and slavery in the US.