Several Klansmen were at the fair on a recruiting mission when they spotted Gruver, who is a U.S. citizen of Panamanian descent. They threw whisky in his face and called him a "spic." Gruver, who stood 5-foot-3 and weighed just 150 pounds at the time, was surrounded, beaten to the ground and kicked by the Klansmen, one of whom was 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. He was left with a broken jaw and arm, two cracked ribs and multiple cuts. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and has permanent arm and jaw injuries.
The Southern Poverty Law Center won Gruver's case against the Klan.
The Southern Poverty Law Center today won a crushing jury verdict against one of the nation's largest Klan groups for its role in the brutal beating of a teenager at a county fair in rural Kentucky.
The $2.5 million verdict will likely cripple the Imperial Klans of America, which has 16 chapters in eight states.
"The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they've said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price," said SPLC founder and chief trial attorney Morris Dees, who tried the case. "We look forward to collecting every dime that we can for our client and to putting the Imperial Klans of America out of business."
Besides the monetary award, there were some other hidden victories here. The case was tried in Kentucky, and, in front of an all White jury.
An all-white jury of seven men and seven women deliberated for five hours after three days of testimony. The suit alleged that Edwards, Hensley, and the Imperial Klans of America as a whole incited its members to use violence against minorities.
Who has got to pay and how?
The jury deliberated for approximately five hours before delivering the verdict against IKA Imperial Wizard Ron Edwards and two former IKA members, Jarred Hensley and Andrew Watkins, both of whom served two years in state prison for assaulting Gruver. The SPLC earlier reached settlements with Watkins and one other Klansmen.
The verdict included $1.5 million in compensatory damages — apportioned among Edwards, Hensley and Watkins — and $1 million in punitive damages against Edwards.
The compound where IKA Imperial Wizard Ron Edwards hangs out is home to an annual musical festival. I guess even domestic terrorists need their own brand of music.
During the trial, the SPLC demonstrated how the IKA and Edwards fostered an atmosphere of hate and violence. The IKA's compound in Dawson Springs, Ky., is home to Nordic Fest, an annual music festival that brings together Klansmen, skinheads and members of other violent hate groups.
Will this verdict take the Klan out? No. But it will cripple their ability to recruit.
Let's keep calling the Klan and it's members what they are.
Home grown domestic terrorists.