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:
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.
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