Monday, November 17, 2008

Klan loses in rural lawsuit, draws ABC-TV spotlight

In July 2006, Klansmen savagely beat a 16-year-old Hispanic youth at the Meade County Fair in Brandenburg, Ky. Last week, "a rural Kentucky jury with no blacks and no Hispanics stood up to the Klan and denied that Meade County is a good place for KKK recruiting," Jim Avila reported on ABC's "Nightline" tonight.

The story caught up with weekend reporting in Kentucky on the lawsuit that victim Jordan Gruver filed against one of his attackers and the leader of the Imperial Klans of America. The jury awarded Gruver $2.5 million, a judgment that his attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center hopes will force the group to sell its 15-acre compound near Dawson Springs in Hopkins County (southwest corner of Encarta map), 125 miles southwest of Brandenburg.

"In America, you have the right to hate, but you don't have the right to hurt," said Morris Dees, head of the center, "who notched his latest legal win against hate groups," noted Chris Kenning of The Courier-Journal. Kenning said the IKA claims 23 chapters in 17 states; Avila reported that it claims recruits in 28 states. We'll go with Kenning on this one; Avila called the scene of the beating the "Meade, Kentucky, County Fair" and dubbed the county seat of Brandenburg "an old mining hamlet," which it is not.

Edwards' son Steven heads the Supreme White Alliance, based in Muhlenberg County, which borders Hopkins County on the east. The group includes a Tennessee man who is in a pair charged with planning to assasinate President-elect Barack Obama. That group was the subject of a Nightline report by Brian Ross last month.

ABC's Terry Moran said last night that "the Internet has helped the organized hate groups" recruit and retain members. The report included film from the National Geographic Channel of an annual event at the Dawson Springs compound, available at

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