Saturday, January 15, 2011

Appeals court voids big verdict against Klansman

A $1.3 million verdict against the former leader of a Ku Klux Klan affiliate was overturned yesterday by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which ruled that "there isn't enough evidence to hold him liable in the beating of a minority teen by other Klansmen at a county fair" in Brandenburg, Chris Kenning reports for The Courier-Journal. The Southern Poverty Law Center promised an appeal.

Ron Edwards, head of the Imperial Klans of America, was included in a $2.5 million judgment that also went against another IKA member who didn't appeal but has no assets. "Two other assailants settled out of court," Kenning notes. the appeals court panel ruled 2-1 that “there was no evidence that Edwards had encouraged or instructed any of the assailants to go to the fair” and “no evidence that he had encouraged or instructed the assailants” to assault Jordan Gruver, 19.

Kenning reports, "Since the trial, the IKA, once the nation's second-largest Klan group with 39 chapters in 26 states, has dwindled to two chapters, the law center said." Its spokesman said, "A big part of the decline was due to the fact that the trial discredited Edwards by showing he was running the group for his own financial benefit." (Read more) Here is our original item on the case.

1 comment:

c. josh givens said...

I interviewed Edwards in his compound near Dawson Springs in Hopkins County in 2004. The IKA had only been in the county for a few months, but the Sheriff's Department was dealing with complaints of automatic weapons fire and IKA members had intimidated crews working on the country road that ran in front of the compound. I was never frightened by Edwards, though a photo I shot that day left no doubt members relied on fear -- Edwards stood, arms crossed, as two 'security' personnel flanked him, strapped with sidearms. He often claimed he did not put up drug use or trafficking in his organization, however members were often in court for drug offenses. I find this ruling interesting, since members in these groups rarely do anything without the guy at the top okaying it.