By Stephanie Segretto
November 14 2008
Jordan Gruver, 19, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are suing Ron Edwards, the leader of the Imperial Klans of America, and former member Jarred Hensley for an incident back in 2006 at the Meade County Fair.
Gruver testified that he suffered a broken jaw and permanent nerve damage to his left arm, and that he doesn’t leave his house and rarely sleeps more than two hours at a time or he has nightmares.
“They said, ‘Something, something, you little spic,’ and I tried to correct them. I am not a spic, I am a Native American,” Gruver said. “They kept on calling me spic, calling me border-hopper, you know, illegal immigrant… It came down to where Andrew Watkins was sitting there spitting at me and kicking dirt at me.”Gruver said he was surrounded and knew something bad was about to happen.He said a Klan member threw whiskey in his face, and that’s when he turned to walk away, but ran into another Klan member who he said hit him in the face, knocking him to the ground.”I went to cover up my face in the fetal position, like this,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many people was there. I can tell you that there was a lot of feet. All I could see was a bunch of feet. As they was kicking me, I prayed to myself. I said, ‘God, just please let me go. Please let me make it home.'”Edwards and Hensley are representing themselves. During closing arguments Friday, both said that what happened to Gruver has out of their control.”I cannot be responsible for what four people do on their own,” Edwards said. “That is basically violating my rights to belief. That’s what this is about. This isn’t about what I have done, even though the plaintiff’s counsel wants you to think that. I have not done anything. I have been legal in everything I have done.”The case is now in the jury’s hands.
Jury deliberations begin in Klan beating trial
November 14 2008
A substantial financial award would stop a Kentucky-based Ku Klux Klan organization in its tracks, a civil rights attorney told a jury on Friday in a civil trial against the group and two white supremacists.
“It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money,” said Morris Dees, lead attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks the Klan and other hate groups. “If you stop the money, you’ll cut the organization off.”
Dees and the center represent 19-year-old Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian Indian descent, who sued the Imperial Klans of America, its Imperial Grand Wizard, Ron Edwards, and one of his former lieutenants, Jarred Hensley. A jury began to consider the case Friday after nearly three days of testimony. The lawsuit seeks more than $6 million.
Gruver testified on Friday that he suffered a broken jaw, bruised ribs and permanent nerve damage to his left arm after being beaten by four white supremacists at the Meade County Fair in July 2006. Two white supremacists who were initially part of the suit reached confidential settlements before trial.
Edwards and Hensley, both heavily tattooed with Confederate flags and Nazi and racist images, served as their own attorneys and declined to call any witnesses. In less than 10 minutes combined of closing arguments, the two men said they did not take part in beating Gruver.
Edwards asked the jury not to hold his beliefs against him.
“You may not agree with my beliefs, but that is your right,” Edwards said. “If these men had assaulted a white man, would this case be heard in this courtroom today?”
Hensley pleaded guilty in 2006 to attacking Gruver and served more than two years in prison. During closing arguments, Hensley told jurors he took the plea to avoid harsher charges and having a jury send him to prison because of his beliefs.
“Just because I wrote that I was guilty of it, doesn’t mean I did it,” Hensley said.
The three-day trial at the Meade County Courthouse focused on Gruver’s beating, the criminal history of members of the Klan and Edwards’ handling of his followers.
Throughout the trial, white supremacists wearing jackets covered in Nazi symbols watched inside the courtroom, while others lingered outside the courthouse amid the dozen sheriff’s deputies and state troopers providing security.
Gruver testified on Friday that he has nightmares about the attack and is afraid to leave the house. Gruver said he did not incite the attack and wanted nothing to do with Hensley and the other Klansmen at the fair.
“I knew you were not the nicest people in the world,” Gruver told Hensley during questioning.
“You put prejudice on my being a nice person because of my racial beliefs?” Hensley then asked.
“If you were the nicest people, you wouldn’t be calling me names,” Gruver said. “You’d be acting your age and not your shoe size.”
I can only hope the jury does the right thing.
Putting White Supremacists out of business, is in everyones best interest.