A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tennessee, returned a three count indictment yesterday against Timothy Flanagan, 33, formerly of Giles County, Tennessee, currently residing in Hudson, Florida, charging him with federal offenses for his role in a cross-burning in front of an interracial family’s home in Minor Hill, Tennessee, the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee announced.
The indictment charges Flanagan with one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights, one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony.
The indictment alleges that on April 30, 2012, Flanagan conspired with others to threaten, intimidate and interfere with an interracial couple’s enjoyment of their housing rights in Minor Hill, Tennessee. According to the indictment, Flanagan and two other individuals devised a plan to burn a cross in the yard of an interracial couple who had recently had a baby. The conspirators constructed a wooden cross, purchased diesel fuel and then covered the cross in a diesel-fuel-soaked cloth. The conspirators then drove the cross to the victims’ residence, placed the cross in the driveway and ignited it. Flanagan and his co-conspirators allegedly chose to burn the cross at the victims’ house because of their race, as well as the race of their infant child.
This case was investigated by the Columbia, Tennessee, Resident Agency of the FBI and the Giles County Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Blanche Cook of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Jared Fishman of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.