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Jury finds Unite the Right organizers liable for $25 million


Jason Kessler, center, an organizer of the Unite the Right rally, attends a march to the White House on the rally’s anniversary in August 2018. Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

Jury finds Unite the Right organizers liable for $25 million

After deliberating since Friday, a jury in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, Va., ordered members of groups who attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally to pay punitive damages to nine people harmed during the demonstrations. Self-described white nationalists descended on the University of Virginia campus in Aug. 2017 to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit included some of the victims of James Alex Fields Jr., a self-avowed admirer of Adolf Hitler who rammed his car into a group of counterprotesters, injuring several people and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The monthlong federal civil trial also featured testimony from plaintiffs who were beaten or subjected to racist taunts.

What is the verdict breakdown? For claims of violating state conspiracy law, perpetrating racial harassment and violence, and charges linked to Fields, the jury awarded plaintiffs more than $25 million in damages. The twelve members and five organizations who were sued argued during the trial that they had to defend themselves during violent clashes. The plaintiffs invoked the 150-year-old Ku Klux Klan Act that allows private citizens to sue others for civil rights violations.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Jamie Dean’s report on the so-called alt-right and antifa movements after the Charlottesville violence.


Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.

@CarolinaLumetta

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SAWGUNNER

To the best of my knowledge, Kessler and guys like Richard Spencer likely do not have assets totaling the amount awarded in money damages. And the nation needs to know that the Real Right-- that is to say, genuine conservatives-- unlike the Alt Right neoNazi fruit loops who marched in Charlottesville VA-- seek to shrink the size of government and lessen the grip of the ever intrusive state bureaucratic apparatus. A truly Libertarian "you do you and I'll do me" attitude is anathema to the control freaks of the Alt Right the same way it is anathema to the liberals, socialists etc like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie, AOC and the squad.

Salty1SAWGUNNER

How exactly are the “Alt Right” control freaks? They don’t want the removal of statues which seems very reasonable to me? The mob has no right to tear down statues which is more akin to the communists. How would the left like us to tear down the statues of Obama and others who support abortion?

I don’t support racists but if BLM are going to be allowed to protest, who are racists, then I think the racists from the “Alt Right” have every right to protest and to be protected by police. The Charlottesville incident had a lot to do with the fact that the guy was attacked, but he should be held accountable for his actions equally under the law. Unfortunately, today the “equally” part is left out where the BLM guy will be let off where the racist who is “Alt Right” will not. This unequal treatment is also seen by other conservatives who are not racists.

This $25 million verdict seems unfair to me, where I may not like what the racists stand for, but they have every right to protest peacefully. The protest wasn’t peaceful because they were attacked and the Alt Left bears as much responsibility for the incident.

Big Jim

I wonder if some of the black-owned businesses in Minneapolis, etc that were destroyed by rioting and mayhem could sue BLM using the KKK Act. Seems a little whacky 😜 for blacks to sue blacks in part for racial discrimination but then again Kyle Rittenhouse is being labelled a white supremacist for shooting a bunch of white guys.

SAWGUNNERBig Jim

Not only did he shoot only white dudes, but Kyle has voiced support for BLM.