A federal jury reached a mixed verdict on Tuesday (November 23), holding some of the defendants liable in the civil case involving organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The case was brought against the white nationalists who community members (plaintiffs) said violated state law in conspiring to host the violent gathering in the northern Virginia town. One person, Heather Heyer, died at the rally after a right-wing supporter drove his car into counter-protesters.
In its decision, the jury awarded at least $11 million in punitive damages to people who suffered physical or emotional injuries over the course of the two days of demonstrations.
Of the all the claims listed in the suit, the jury found that all of the defendants were liable on claim three: that they all violated Virginia state conspiracy law.
Each of the defendants: Matthew Heimbach, Christopher Cantwell, Jason Kessler, and Richard Spencer are liable for $500,000 each. Eight other individuals were also listed in the suit.
The five white supremacist organizations named in the planning of the rally are responsible for $1 million each.
On claims one and two, the jury could not find all of the defendants liable. Claim one was the most-watched, as it pertained to whether the organizers broke the law to conspire to commit racially-motivated violence.
Claim two was related to whether the defendants knew about the conspiracy to commit racially-motivated violence and did not prevent it.
The Unite the Right rally was sparked after plans were made to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city street.
The rally took place over August 11 and 12, 2017 and fueled national debate about Confederate statues –– many of which have since been removed and replaced.
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