At a 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist leaders and groups ordered compensation for the deadly violence.
A jury in the United States has ordered white nationalist leaders and organizations to pay more than $25 million in compensation for the violence that broke out during the “Unity Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
After nearly a month of civil trials, a jury in the U.S. District Court ruled on Tuesday that white nationalists are responsible for four of the six charges in a lawsuit filed by nine people who suffered physical or emotional injuries during the two-day demonstration. .
Attorney Roberta Kaplan (Roberta Kaplan) said that the plaintiff’s lawyers plan to re-file the lawsuit so that the new jury can rule on the two allegations for which the jury could not reach a verdict. She called the amount of compensation for other crimes “eye-opening.”
“This sent a resounding message,” Kaplan said.
The verdict is a condemnation of the white nationalist movement, especially for the two dozen individuals and organizations accused in the federal lawsuit of planning violence against African Americans, Jews, and others in a carefully planned conspiracy.
The plaintiff’s lawyer invoked a 150-year-old law passed after the Civil War to protect the released slaves from violence and protect their civil rights.
This law is often referred to as the “KKK Bill” and contains a rarely used clause that allows private citizens to sue other citizens for violations of their civil rights.
From August 11 to 12, 2017, hundreds of white nationalists poured into Charlottesville to participate in the “Unity Right” rally to protest the city’s plan to remove Confederate General Robert E Lee from the public square. ) Statue.
During the parade on the University of Virginia campus, white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us”, surrounded counter-protesters and threw Tiki torches at them. The next day, Adolf Hitler’s public admirers rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring dozens of others.
The then President Donald Trump failed to immediately condemn the white nationalists, saying that “there were good people on both sides” in the incident, which triggered a political storm.
The driver of this car, James Alex Fields Jr., was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and hate. Fields is one of 24 defendants named in a lawsuit funded by Integrity First for America, a non-profit civil rights organization formed in response to the violence in Charlottesville.
The lawsuit accused some of the country’s most prominent white nationalists of orchestrated violence, including Jason Kessler, the main organizer of the rally; Richard Spencer, who created Used the term “alternative right” to describe loosely connected bands of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and others; and the white supremacist Christopher Cantwell, who was under arrest warrant When he posted a tearful video, he was called the “Crying Nazi”.
The trial features the emotional testimony of people who were hit by Fields’ car or witnessed the attack, as well as the plaintiff who was beaten or subjected to racist ridicule.
Melissa Blair was pushed away when Fields’ car crashed into a crowd. She described seeing her fiance bleeding on the sidewalk and later learned that her friend, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, had been killed. The horrible experience of killing.
“I was confused. I was scared. I was worried about everyone present. It was a totally horrible scene. There was blood everywhere. I was scared,” Blair said, tearing up her face as she testified.
In their testimony, some defendants used racial nicknames and provocatively expressed their support for white supremacy.
They blamed each other or the anti-fascist political movement Antifa for the violence that broke out that weekend. Others testified that they resorted to violence only after they or their accomplices were attacked by counter-protesters.
Michael Tubbs, chief of staff of the white nationalist organization League of the South, said: “We are here to save friends and allies who have been beaten by the Communist Party.”
Before the trial, Judge Norman Moon handed down a default judgment on the other seven defendants who refused to respond to the lawsuit. The court will determine the damages to these defendants.