Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Jury Finds Rally Organizers Responsible for Charlottesville Violence

New York Times

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jurors on Tuesday found the main organizers of the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 liable under state law for injuries to counterprotesters, awarding more than $25 million in damages. But the jury deadlocked on two federal conspiracy charges.

Still, the verdict was a clear rebuke of the defendants — a mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Confederate sympathizers. They were found under Virginia law to have engaged in a conspiracy that led to injuries during the rally. The “Unite the Right” march began as a demonstration over the removal of a Confederate statue and led to the death of the counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32, when she was struck by a car driven by one of the defendants.

The civil suit, heard in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, was filed by four men and five women, including four of the people who were injured when Ms. Heyer was killed. The plaintiffs, whose injuries included concussions and a shattered leg, testified that they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, the inability to concentrate, flashbacks and panic attacks.

All sought compensatory and unspecified punitive damages, including payment for medical costs as well as $3 million to $10 million for pain and suffering depending on the degree of their injuries.


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