A jury has said that organizers of the violent 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia are liable for around $25 million in compensation to the victims.
They said that 12 defendants, including prominent neo-Nazi and white nationalist figures Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler and Christopher Cantwell, are each liable for $500,000 to nine plaintiffs who suffered physical or emotional injuries during the infamous ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.
Five groups – Identity Evropa, the League of the South, the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and Vanguard America – were each found liable for $1 million in damages.
James Alex Fields, who rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35 people, was found liable for $12 million in damages. Fields was sentenced to life in prison in 2019.
Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn, attorneys for the plaintiffs, said: “Today’s verdict sends a loud and clear message that facts matter, the law matters, and that the laws of this this country will not tolerate the use of violence to deprive racial and religious minorities of the basic right we all share to live as free and equal citizens.”
The defendants argued that they could not foresee Fields’ violent actions.
During the two-day August 2017 rally, white nationalists protested the planned removal of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and marched in a torchlight procession, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” among other slogans.
Former US President Donald Trump was heavily criticized at the time for saying that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
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