Pop Culture

Trump’s Favorite Neo-Nazis Found Liable for Deadly Charlottesville Rally

A jury has awarded the plaintiffs more than $25 million.

Less than one week after a profoundly f–ked up verdict that will no doubt give certain people license to shoot whomever they want under the guise of cosplaying as police officers or protecting property in a state where they do not live, the justice system…well, we’re not going to say it made things right, because that will never happen, but it did one small good thing!

On Tuesday, jurors found the primary organizers of the deadly Charlottesville rally liable under state law for injuries to counterprotesters, granting the plaintiffs more than $25 million in damages. Known as the “Unite the Right” rally, the August 2017 event took place in reaction to the removal of a Confederate monument, something known to make racists extremely angry. The rally brought together a who’s who of bigots, including neo-Confederates, neo-fascists, white nationalists, Klansmen, various right-wing groups, and neo-Nazis. On the night of August 11, numerous people marched through the University of Virginia campus waving Confederate flags and chanting white supremacist slogans like “Jews will not replace us!” The action continued the following day when self-identified neo-Nazi James Fields intentionally drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 35 others, many of them extremely seriously. (Fields, one of the defendants who was found liable on Tuesday, pleaded guilty in 2019 to 29 federal hate crimes and is currently serving several life sentences.) The case was brought by nine plaintiffs who said that in addition to physical injuries—including three concussions and a skull fracture—they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to insomnia, panic attacks, and flashbacks.

Per The New York Times:

They said that in addition to holding march organizers responsible for the violence, they hoped to deter hate groups from mounting similar toxic spectacles in the future, relying on civil suits in the absence of decisive action by the criminal justice system…. The jury was asked to decide whether each of the defendants had engaged in a conspiracy, and, if so, what compensation should be paid to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs drew a line from Mr. Fields through all the organizations that participated, linking him first to Vanguard America, the group that he marched with in Charlottesville, and then to the other organizations and their leaders…. In seeking to prove that the violence was foreseeable, the plaintiffs highlighted how often the idea of hitting protesters with cars came up beforehand. Samantha Froelich, who was dating two of the main organizers simultaneously in the lead-up to the rally, but who has since left the movement, testified that hitting protesters with cars was discussed at a party earlier that summer in the “Fash Loft,” short for fascist, the nickname for [Richard] Spencer’s apartment in Alexandria, Virginia.

After the violence, Matthew Parrott—one of the leaders of the since disbanded Traditionalist Workers Party, which was modeled after the Nazi Party—and the others celebrated. “Charlottesville was a tremendous victory,” he said in a post. “The alt-right is not a pathetic and faceless internet fad, but a fearsome street-fighting force.”

The jury came out deadlocked on the question of whether the defendants had “engaged in a race-based violent conspiracy,” which, to your average old non-racists, seems pretty obvious. While many of the defendants admitted to harboring racial animus, they claimed they were exercising their First Amendment rights, the defense du jour among right-wing bigots, rather than partaking in a conspiracy to commit violence. (According to the Times, “supporters of the defendants maintained a cheering section online full of expletive-laced rants against Black and Jewish people, while the defendants themselves weighed in with commentary.”)

Donald Trump, of course, waited to condemn the violence and then famously declared that despite individuals like the above taking part in the rally, there were “very fine people” on both sides of the divide.

More Great Stories From Vanity Fair       

Trump’s Disastrous Tulsa Rally Was Even More of a Train Wreck Than Originally Thought
— Top Kamala Harris Aide Heads for the Exit
— Inside the Supply-Chain Snafu That Could Wreck Your Holiday Plans
— The Eric Adams Era Has the Makings of a Tabloid Gold Mine
Ghislaine Maxwell’s Trial Opens a New Chapter in Heinous Jeffrey Epstein Saga
— Andy Jassy, Amazon’s New CEO, Enters the Ring
Rupert Murdoch Tells Trump to STFU About 2020
— Did the Lingerie Business Make Jeffrey Epstein Possible?
— From the Archive: The Second Coming
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

‘Pitch Perfect’: Flula Borg Joins Adam Devine In Peacock TV Series, Reprising Pieter Krämer Role
Tyler, the Creator Scores Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton Fashion Show: Watch
Louie Anderson dead: Actor, comedian dies of cancer at 68
From Lena Dunham to Kanye, 10 Sundance Films to Look Out For
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Announce They’ve Welcomed Their First Baby via Surrogate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *