DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — Members of the North Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan planned to be in Douglas County Sunday – but they were a no-show.
The white supremacists were going to protest the recent sentencing of a couple convicted of terrorizing a black family.
Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez was at the Douglas County Courthouse Sunday for the planned protest, where things still got intense despite the KKK not showing up.
Dozens of protesters showed up at the courthouse to oppose the KKK.
The klan members were expected to show up to express their outrage over the recent sentencing of Jose Torres and Kayla Norton.
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Norton and Torres, who have three children, were part of a larger group in July 2015 called Respect the Flag. Their convoy of trucks, flying the Confederate battle flag, pulled up to a birthday party for an 8-year-old black child, where they threatened the family and yelled racial slurs. At one point, Torres pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at the family.
This past week, Norton was sentenced on one count of violating Georgia's street gang act and one count of making terroristic threats. Torres was sentenced on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of terroristic threats and one count of violating the street gang act.
Despite the group not showing up for the planned protest, one man made it clear he was not happy over the sentences handed down by the judge.
Kenny Whitman said what happened to Norton and Torres was "a tragedy."
"I'm just a Confederate. I just feel bad these people got in trouble," Whitman told Jaquez. "They should be able to say the ‘n word’ and hold the flag without it being a crime."
That sent the crowd into a frenzy.
"Obviously she did something and that is not her. She apologized to the woman," another protester said.
While Whitman and a few others agree the two deserved some time in prison, he said, the extent of the sentencing was too much.
"That's such a steep sentence," Whitman said.
Jaquez said the protest never caused a public safety issue. Police kept crowds under control and no arrests were made.
Cox Media Group