US jury awards $25m in damages over Unite the Right rally

US jury awards $25m in damages over Unite the Right rally
Richard Spencer, who coined the term "alt-right", was among the defendants. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: A US jury has awarded millions in damages against the organisers of a deadly far-right rally in August 2017.

The defendants were found liable in four out of six counts over the bloodshed at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Nine of those injured sued the event’s organisers arguing they had conspired to commit racially motivated violence.

A woman was killed and dozens were hurt after an avowed neo-Nazi drove a car into counter-protesters.

The total damages awarded amount to $25m (£19m), according to US media.

In court, the jury awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against 12 defendants, and $1m against five white supremacist organisations. Punitive damages are awarded at a court’s discretion to punish a defendant for conduct judged to be especially harmful.

Additionally, the jury awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages to two plaintiffs and $200,000 against several defendants.

A total of $12m in punitive damages was also imposed against the driver of the car in the fatal incident.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants “brought with them to Charlottesville the imagery of the Holocaust, of slavery, of Jim Crow and of fascism”.

“They also brought with them semi-automatic weapons, pistols, mace, rods, armour, shields and torches,” the lawsuit said.

The defendants include several prominent figures in America’s white nationalist and far-right sphere.

Among those found liable in the case were Jason Kessler, the rally’s main organiser, and Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right” and spoke at the event.

Another defendant, Christopher Cantwell, became famous as “the crying Nazi” after an emotional YouTube video he posted after the rally went viral.

The lawsuit largely rested on an 1871 law passed after the US Civil War to protect black Americans following their emancipation from slavery from the Ku Klux Klan.

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