The jury found that the Imperial Klans of America and its founder wrongfully targeted 16-year-old Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian and Native-American descent.
The verdict included $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages against "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards. The law center said before the verdict that a large damage award could break the Klan group, allowing the teen and the law center to seize the group's assets, including its headquarters, a 15-acre compound in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.
Also revealed during testimony: An alleged Klan plot to kill the Southern Poverty Law Center's attorney, Morris Dees. Former Klansman Kale Kelly, once a member of Edwards' inner circle, testified he was told to kill Dees because of the center's lawsuit in Idaho against the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi supremacist organization. The plot was thwarted by the FBI in 1999, according to testimony.
Kelly, who since has left the group, cried on the witness stand during his testimony. Other former Klansmen also testified that they were encouraged to use violence. One said he was conditioned to kill.
The Anti-Defamation League estimates there are more than 40 different Klan groups, with as many as 5,000 members in more than 100 chapters, or "klaverns," across the country. [CNN]
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Klan Ruling Could Bankrupt Group
With all of the news about the economy and the election, this is a story you may have missed. The Southern Poverty Law Center, in defending a Kentucky teenager who was severely beaten by members of the KKK, has won a huge financial victory of $2.5 million against the racist domestic terrorist gang. This is perhaps enough to bankrupt this particular Klan group (but there are many more). We can only hope. Why the government doesn't prosecute these thugs under RICO laws is beyond me. Perhaps with a new Obama administration, this will get more aggressive. This is not about free speech. The Klan is about promoting violence, crime, and terrorism.