Jordan Gruver Awarded $2.5 million Against the Klan
Posted by shadmia on November 18, 2008
It was the night of July 29-30 2006 that 16-year-old Jordan Gruver attended the Meade County Fair in Brandenburg, Kentucky. It was that same night that Ron Edwards, leader of the Imperial Klans of America, sent his supporters on a membership recruitment drive to the same fair. It was that night that changed Jordan’s life forever.
Jordan Gruver is an American citizen born in Bismarck, North Dakota. His father was from Panama and his mother is of Native-American descent from Kentucky. He was spotted at the fair by four of the klan members:
- Jarred Hensley, the Ohio Klan’s “Grand Titan.” – the second highest klan official in the state.
- Andrew Watkins, the Klan’s “Imperial Gothi” and webmaster
- Joshua Cowles, the Klan’s “Exalted Cyclops” and national director of the klan’s recruitment effort
- Matthew Roberts, the Ohio Klan’s “Exalted Cyclops”
The four men, who had all been drinking at the fair, mistakenly thought Jordan was an illegal Latino immigrant. They approached him and without provocation began calling him racial epithets like ” illegal spic”. They then proceeded to spit on him and poured alcohol over him.
Two of the men – Hensley and Watkins, with the other two men standing close by – began to attack Jordan, knocking him to the ground, kicking and hitting him repeatedly. At 5’3″ tall and weighing 150 lbs, 16-year-old Jordan was no match for the two men, one of whom weighed 300 lbs and was 6’5″ tall.
During the attack Jordan suffered extreme pain and severe physical injuries including a broken jaw which had to be wired shut, broken teeth, a broken left forearm and two cracked ribs. He now has permanent nerve damage. The attack also traumatized Jordan to the point of severe emotional distress. He doesn’t leave his house and rarely sleeps more than two hours at a time because of his nightmares.
Both men responsible for the attack on Jordan Gruver, Jarred Hensley and Andrew Watkins, went through the Kentucky criminal court system, striking a plea bargain. They both served 2-year sentences in the Kentucky state prison system. The case was not however treated as a hate crime.
Jordan Gruver, now 19 years old, fought back and, with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of Americas’ leading civil rights organizations, he sued the Imperial Klans of America (IKA); its leader, Ron Edwards; his two attackers (Watkins and Hensley); and Joshua Crowles who was present at the time of the attack and failed to prevent it; for $6 million seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.
The original personal injury lawsuit named Ron Edwards, leader of the Imperial Klans of America, Jarred Hensley, Andrew Watkins and Joshua Cowles as defendants. See a copy of the complaint here. However before the trial started both Watkins and Cowles settled with Gruver. The trial went forward against Edwards and Hensley.
The lawsuit claimed that as part of an official recruiting drive organized by the IKA leadership, members went to the Meade County Fairgrounds in Brandenburg, Ky., to hand out business cards and flyers advertising a “white-only” IKA function. This is where the encounter with Jordan Gurver occurred.
Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPL Center), discusses the lawsuit against the IKA in the video below and answers questions about the IKA on the SPL Center’s website here:
The following video shows defendants – Ron Edwards and Jarred Hensley along with Steve Edwards, President of Supreme White Alliance, son of Ron Edwards – stating their case for white power:
“If you are not of the White race, this Web site is not for the likes of YOU!” We reserve the right of free speech to state our views whether our enemies like it or not. The IKA hates: Muds, spics, kikes and niggers. This is our God given right! In no way do we advocate violence. We believe in educating our people to the monopolistic Jewish control of the world’s banks, governments, and media. White education is what ZOG hates and why it tries to imprison White Racialists.
Ron Edwards lives in a trailer on the Klan’s heavily guarded, gated compound in rural Dawson Springs, Kentucky. The compound is the site of the Klan’s annual white power rally and music festival, know as “Nordic Fest”. It was at the compound, the lawsuit alleges, that the Klan incited its members to use violence against minorities. The center is seeking to win a judgment that would allow it to seize up to $6 million in assets.
Richard Cohen, the law center’s president, said he hoped that the jury would award enough in damages to put the IKA out of business:
“The Imperial Klans of America is one of the largest Klan organizations in the country. It promotes violence and intimidation against racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals and so-called ‘race traitors.’ While on a recruiting mission, members of this organization targeted and viciously beat our client solely because he has brown skin.
“Our lawsuit seeks justice and compensation for the victim of this brutal hate crime. We also hope that the monetary damages will be sufficient to put the organization out of business and send a strong message to other hate groups and their followers that this type of racial violence will not be tolerated.”
The trial lasted for 3 days and, after deliberating for 6 hours, an all-white jury trial comprised of 14 people – 7 men and 7 women – awarded Jordan Gruver a total of $2.5 million. $1.5 million for lost wages and medical expenses and the jury laid $1 million in punitive damages solely on Ron Edwards.
“We look forward to collecting every dime that we can for our client and to putting the Imperial Klans of America out of business,” said SPLC founder and chief trial attorney Morris Dees. “It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money. If you stop the money, you’ll cut the organization off.”
“The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they’ve said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price,” Dees said.
The heavily tattooed Edwards plans to appeal the verdict. Despite the judgment, Edwards said the KKK will remain active. “We’re not going away,” Edwards said.
“I’m overwhelmed. I’m victorious,” Gruver said. “And, I’m also sad. I’m sad because those guys are still going to be the same way that they were. That will never change.”
John Gruver – in an interview with his mother, Cindy, his pregnant girlfriend and his brother – summed it up nicely when he said in the video below: “Kentucky is a good state but it has some bad people in it”