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Confederate Flag Dispute Ends In Felony Charge

A Louisiana man was arrested after a dispute over the sale of Confederate flags and white supremacist paraphernalia erupted on his property.

Virgil Rayford, 52, of Washington Parish, was charged Friday with a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm, his attorney, Buddy Spell, said.

According to Spell, Rayford was notified Friday afternoon that someone was trespassing on a vacant two-acre plot of land he owns. The individual was, according to Spell, not only trespassing on land owned by his client, who is African-American, but was also selling Confederate flags.

Rayford immediately drove to his property, which is located not far from where O’Neal Moore, one of the first African-American deputies to be hired by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, was killed in a drive-by shooting in June 1965. The crime, which some speculated was committed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, remains unsolved.

Upon arrival at his property, Rayford discovered the vendor, a white male identified by New Orleans’ WWL‑TV as 37-year-old Matthew Barrentine, had erected a tent on his property and was, according to Spell, not only selling Confederate flags, but also other white supremacist themed merchandise.

Spell said Rayford approached Barrentine and demanded that he “get the hell off my property.” Barrentine allegedly challenged Rayford’s claim of ownership and refused to leave the property.

 

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