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VSU protestor indicted on weapon charges

Eugene Sheppard debating with other students during a protest on campus last semester. Sheppard was seen walking on an American flag in protest a few days prior to the demonstration. (John Preer/THE SPECTATOR)

Written by Jamel Shorter, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of the Valdosta Daily Times.
Photo courtesy of the Valdosta Daily Times.

Eric Eugene Sheppard, Jr., known for his avid protesting of the American flag on Valdosta State University’s campus, has been indicted by a Lowndes County grand jury for carrying a weapon in a school safety zone.

Sheppard will be arraigned on October 16, according to Assistant Southern District Attorney Brad Shealy.

Although Sheppard created a social media frenzy and received national attention for the protest, he was arrested on an unrelated charge. A backpack was found on the campus of VSU and inside was a firearm which violates the school safety zone precaution.

Sheppard went into hiding for two weeks after the incident before being arrested in Tampa, Florida on May 28, 2015, and he was in jail for nearly a month after that due to being denied bond. Sheppard was granted bond on June 19, 2015.

Sheppard and a group of his peers strongly protested the American flag and what they thought that it represented. Sheppard believed that the flag stood for the oppression of African Americans in the United States. In a shared manifesto with the Valdosta Daily Times he said that he would “annihilate” anyone who attempted to take him into custody.

The bond was placed at $25,000 and came with conditions. The conditions were that he is banned from VSU campus, banned from any social media use, he would be confined to his mother’s Cobb County residence from the hours of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day, and he would be monitored by an ankle bracelet system. Along with these conditions, he also isn’t allowed to be in the presence of a firearm.

According to Lowndes County District Attorney David Miller, Sheppard’s pretrial could happen in December.

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