Originally created 07/21/02

Across the southeast



NAACP might stage flag-display boycott

BILOXI, Miss. -The NAACP is considering boycotts and picketing to protest inclusion of the Confederate battle flag in a beach flag display on U.S. Highway 90 on the Mississippi coast.

The Rev. Charles White, the NAACP regional director in Atlanta, said Friday that he hopes the community will support whatever action the civil rights organization takes.

"We say to this community that we cannot just sit idly by as this flag, which we consider to be a swastika, flies on public property," the Rev. White said.

The Rev. White directs NAACP activities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Man fires at chopper in terrorism mistake

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -A man armed with an assault-style rifle opened fire on a helicopter landing in a residential neighborhood, thinking the chopper was carrying terrorists, police said.

Helicopter pilot John S. Sutton landed his helicopter July 13 at the home of businessman John Peters to pick him up, police said.

John Chwaszczewski, a semiretired construction worker, became alarmed when he saw the chopper swoop down over his garage, about a block from Mr. Peters' home.

"Maybe I overreacted, but I did feel this was terrorism at its utmost," Mr. Chwaszczewski said. He told police the shooting was "a natural reaction," after having watched the events of Sept. 11.

Mr. Chwaszczewski faces up to eight years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted.

Jail term shortened in friend's slaying

BRADENTON, Fla. -A man who shot and killed his best friend while acting out a movie scene has been sentenced to a shorter prison term than state guidelines recommend.

James Brand was found guilty of manslaughter by culpable negligence in May in the July 2000 death of Daniel Squires.

Circuit Judge Marc Gilner sentenced Mr. Brand on Friday to three years, four months in prison, plus 10 years probation. He said he departed from the minimum nine-year term because of Mr. Brand's remorse and clean record.

Mr. Brand and Mr. Squires, 21, both movie buffs, were playing drinking games the night of the shooting. Mr. Brand said he was acting out a scene from a movie when he pulled his gun and shot Mr. Squires in the chest. He told police he did not think the gun was loaded.