Melissa Alford says videos show the aftermath of an ugly incident — a convoy of Confederate flag-bearing pickup trucks and their passengers interrupting a black child’s birthday party with threats and racial epithets.
Levi Bush, who was driving one of the trucks, says the videos show the unfortunate ending of an unintentional encounter — one triggered, in fact, by the people at that birthday party.
Whatever they show, the two cellphone videos from the Saturday afternoon incident off Douglasville’s Chapel Hill Road have been seen more than 200,000 times on Facebook. Authorities are now reviewing them to see if anything criminal occurred.
“Officers on scene were given conflicting statements as to what led up to the confrontation,” the Douglasville Police Department said in an emailed statement.
In one of the videos, Douglasville officers can be seen holding back a group of black men and women as at least seven pickup trucks drive off. The trucks’ white passengers wave as the Confederate, American and military flags mounted on the vehicles flap in the air.
“This is a child’s birthday party,” one woman in the crowd can be heard saying.
A second video shows the trucks gathered on a grassy area, and at least one racial slur can be heard. Alford, the woman hosting a family member’s birthday party, said the trucks drove by several times before parking in the field next to her house.
“One had a gun, saying he was gonna kill the [racial slur],” Alford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Then one of them said gimme the gun, I’ll shoot them [racial slur].”
Bush, the leader of the caravan of trucks, told the AJC that his group is called “Protect the Flag” and is not a hateful one. They “drive around and sell flags,” he said, with all of the proceeds going to veterans or toward purchasing new American flags for those in need.
Bush said his group was leaving a nearby event when they drove by Alford’s home and the partygoers started yelling at the trucks in front of him. They then threw rocks at his vehicle, he said.
Bush said he fishtailed while trying to drive away, then ran over a median and got a flat tire. When he pulled into a nearby driveway, the partygoers swarmed and made threats, and his friends backed him up, he said.
“Basically about eight of us had to hold 15 to 20 of them back,” Bush said, admitting that a specific racial slur was likely used by members of his group.
Someone called 911 and police eventually arrived to separate the factions. Authorities said neither side claimed anything physical took place, and no injuries were reported. They are now reviewing videos to “see if any criminal activity occurred.”
Alford said she doesn’t care if people want to “ride around with their flags,” but said the incident went too far. She said she hasn’t stayed at her home since the incident.
“I don’t have a problem if that’s their culture,” Alford said. “… If they want to make a statement that these flags mean something to them, I’m OK with that. But you’ve got to do it right. You can’t go around just blatantly terrorizing people.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.