Reaction to Charlottesville verdict: ‘There are consequences to violence and hatred’

On Tuesday, a federal jury awarded $26 million in damages to those affected by the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, when white supremacists clashed with counterprotesters, killing one and injuring dozens.

And the verdict was praised by at least three Virginia politicians.

“Today’s ruling cannot bring back the lives lost, nor restore the lives changed that day,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “But it does hold the perpetrators responsible and shows there are consequences to violence and hatred. Neither has a home here in Virginia.”

The sentiment was echoed by Sen. Mark Warner, and he invoked the name of the counterprotester who was killed in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017: “No amount of money will bring back Heather Heyer, or erase the trauma suffered by so many,” Warner wrote. “We must continue to counter hate in all its forms, and stand up against domestic extremism.”

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe called it an “important verdict” for Virginia and the nation.

“Thinking of Heather Heyer, Jay Cullen, Berke Bates and their families today and always,” he added. Cullen and Bates were two Virginia state troopers who had been monitoring the events in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 when their helicopter crashed.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine called the verdict a “confirmation of what we all know — that what happened in Charlottesville four years ago was a shocking and unacceptable display of bigotry and violence.”

Kaine also brought up Heyer and the two Virginia State troopers, as well as the other injured counterprotesters.

“I hope that this verdict sends a strong message that hate will not drag Virginia backwards and that we are a Commonwealth working to move forward and overcome bigotry with brotherhood,” Kaine’s statement said.

Meantime, the nonprofit civil rights group that helped coordinate the suit, Integrity First for America, said “the case sends a clear message, violent hate won’t go unanswered.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Roberta Kaplan, said the verdict was a message that the nation does not tolerate hatred or violence.

“To be clear this jury did find a conspiracy to commit violence as to each and every defendant,” Kaplan said.

One of the several defendants in the case, Richard Spencer, called the verdict “fundamentally flawed.” And on Twitter, he signaled a probable return to the courtroom.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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