Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
Integrity First for America successfully made the Nazis involved in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville pay for their violence. The jury in the civil trial ruled decisively against a group of two dozen defendants, which included the likes of Richard Spencer and Chris "Crying Nazi" Cantwell representing themselves, as well as hate groups like Identity Evropa and League of the South -- finding that all parties violated the Virginia state law against civil conspiracy.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on counts one and two, which related to conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence and failure to stop the conspiracy. For the third claim, individuals must pay $500,000 in punitive damages while groups like Vanguard and Trad Workers Party must pay $1 million per group.
Eliott Kline, Robert "Azzmador" Ray, Spencer, and Cantwell were found liable for racial intimidation and will pay $200,000 apiece in punitive damages. Plaintiffs Natalie Romero and Devin Willis will receive $250,000 each. Liability was found against James Fields in count four, which encompasses "civil action for racial, religious, or ethnic harassment, violence or vandalism," according to the Virginia state code. For his role in claim five as it relates to assault and battery, Fields must pay $6 million in punitive damages.
Multiple plaintiffs will receive compensatory damages for claim five: April Muniz will receive $108,000, Marissa Blair will receive $200,000, Marcus Martin will receive $157,000, Thomas will receive $318,575, and Romero will receive $217,715. Fields must pay an additional $6 million as it relates to claim six, which is intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The total amount that these reprehensible Nazis must pay is around $25 million. Integrity First for America Executive Director Amy Spitalnick summed things up perfectly: "This case has sent a clear message: violent hate won't go unanswered. There will be accountability."
"These judgments underscore the major financial, legal, and operational consequences for violent hate—even beyond the significant impacts this case has already had. And at a moment of rising extremism, major threats to our democracy, and far too little justice, this case has provided a model for accountability," Spitalnick said in a statement.
The plaintiffs issued a statement praising Tuesday's verdict: "It has been a long four years since we first brought this case. Today, we can celebrate the jury's verdict finally holding defendants like [Jason Kessler, Richard Spencer, and Christopher Cantwell] accountable for what they did to us and to everyone else in the Charlottesville community who stood up against hate in August 2017. Our single greatest hope is that today's verdict will encourage others to feel safer raising our collective voices in the future to speak up for human dignity and against white supremacy."
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