A Kentucky jury Nov. 14 ordered three members of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), including “Imperial Wizard” Ron Edwards, to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for a racially motivated attack against Jordan Gruver, a 16-year-old boy of Panamanian descent, during an apparent Klan recruitment event at a county fair in Meade, Ky. Gruver, who was severely beaten by Edwards’ followers, is a US citizen, but the Klansmen mistakenly believed he was an undocumented immigrant, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represented the youth in the case.
Hate groups such as the KKK have recently experienced a resurgence in the US, which some observers attribute to the growing public attention to immigration. At the same time, federal and state authorities have been successful in a number of criminal prosecutions against alleged KKK members who committed hate crimes in the 1960s, although in October the US Fifth Circuit vacated the conviction of accused Klansman James Ford Seale for his involvement in the 1964 deaths of two Black teens. (CNN, Jurist, Nov. 15)
Just as the Gruber case comes to a close, Long Island’s Suffolk County is embroiled in controversy surrounding the Nov. 8 stabbing death in Patchogue village of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadoran immigrant. Seven teenagers have been arrested and charged in the attack, which police call a hate crime. County Executive Steve Levy, a hardline proponent of a crackdown on “illegal” immigrants, has come under harsh criticism from advocacy groups for inflaming an atmosphere of hate in the prelude to the attack. (Newsday, Nov. 18)