Collecting a $26M award vs. White nationalists may be tough

The 26 Million dollar judgment received by the people who sued white nationalists for injuring them at the rally in Charlottesville in 2017 would be tough to receive. 

All to know about the rally

A “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, turned deadly, when a 20-year-old Ohio man allegedly accelerated his car into a gathering of protesters, murdering a 32-year-old man Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, five of whom were badly injured. 

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The Charlottesville City Council agreed in 2017 to demolish the Lee statue, a statue made in remembrance of General Robert Lee who led the Confederate army during the Civil War. The park was to be renamed as the place where it is located. A group of white people who had nationalist mindsets were not in favor of the idea and protested the decision in May. The “Unite the Right” rally was planned for August the 12th.


White supremacists, with torches in their hands, marched across the Campus and shouted slogans that are normally associated with the Nazis, like “blood and soil”. The official march was set to begin at noon on Saturday, but clashes between protestors and counter-protesters were reported earlier that day.

The clashes got out of control and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe had to proclaim a state of emergency before noon on that day. James Alex at 1:42 pm slammed a car into the counter-protestors which surely escalated the violence to its peak. The horrible act by the nationalist killed a person and left 19 injured. 

The case and the judgment

Four men and five women filed the civil suit in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville. The plaintiffs stated that they suffered from both physical and mental issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe insomnia, difficulty to concentrate, flashbacks, and panic attacks as a result of their injuries, which included concussions and a shattered leg as physical injuries.

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Depending on the degree of injuries, the suffering award fell in the range of 3 million dollars to 10 million dollars. Lawyers for the counter-protesters said that they were considering a retrial on the federal conspiracy charge. Punitive penalties were awarded in large amounts. 12 individuals received $500,000 each and five white nationalist organizations received $1 million each. The damages were to be split evenly among the plaintiffs. 

The collection of money; why is it hard?

The people who sued the violence makers were promised a judgment of 26 Million dollars but the collection of money seems to be difficult, to say the least. The individuals ordered to pay are not in a state where they could clear the payments. The main culprit, James Alex is already facing a life sentence for killing the woman with his car.

He is charged to pay punitive damages of about 12 million dollars, an amount that he has little or no prospect to pay off. An additional amount of hundreds of dollars is charged on him for causing mental and emotional distress, assault, and battery. Many of the other defendants are either locked up in prison or are on the run. Most of the groups have been dissolved and there are no traces or tracks of people involved in the violence. 

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The message of the verdict

The message sent by the jury is loud and clear that the individuals who try to spread hate and violence will have to face extreme consequences, no matter who they are or what color they possess. The white supremacy movements have dissolved and many of the racists who held onto the white supremacist ideology are off the charts. 

The jury’s decision has given a tight slap on the faces of violence and racism but the collection of this money for punitive damages is still looking to be difficult for the US District court. 


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