[JURIST] A Kentucky jury Friday ordered three members of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), including "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards, to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for a racially motivated attack against Jordan Gruver, a 16-year-old boy of Panamanian descent, during an alleged Klan recruitment event at a County Fair in Meade, Kentucky. Gruver is a US citizen. Richard Cohen, the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) [advocacy website; lawsuit materials], which represented Gruver in the trial that began [JURIST report] earlier this week, welcomed what he called an "historic" verdict [recorded video]. The SPLC has been successful in the past in obtaining substantial monetary judgments to cripple hate groups, such as the Aryan Nation in Idaho, and the United Klans of America in Alabama. Edwards and the other IKA defendants have denied responsibility for the attack [recorded video] on Gruver. AP has more.
Hate groups such as the KKK have recently experienced a resurgence [JURIST report] in the United States, which some observers attribute to the growing public attention to immigration. At the same time, federal and state authorities have been successful in a number of criminal prosecutions against alleged KKK members who committed hate crimes in the 1960s, although in October the Fifth Circuit vacated the conviction [JURIST report] of alleged Klansman James Ford Seale for his involvement in the 1964 deaths of two 19-year-old black teens.