Center Lawsuit Expanded to Include IKA

Ku Klux Klan

The Southern Poverty Law Center in July refiled an earlier lawsuit against two Klansmen to add the nation's second-largest Klan organization, its national leader and two other individuals as defendants. The suit claims that as part of an official recruiting drive for the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), several hulking IKA members savagely beat a small teenage boy at a county fair in Kentucky.

The unprovoked attack came in July 2006 at the Meade County Fairgrounds in Brandenburg, Ky. IKA members — including Jarred Hensley, 24, and Andrew Watkins, 26 — began harassing the 16-year-old boy of Panamanian descent, calling him a "spic," according to the lawsuit. The boy, who stood 5 feet 3 inches and weighed just 150 pounds, was then beaten to the ground and kicked by the Klansmen, one of whom is 6 feet 5 inches tall and 300 pounds. The beating left the victim with two cracked ribs, a broken left forearm, multiple cuts and bruises, and extensive jaw injuries.

Jarred Hensley.
Jarred Hensley, a Klan official from Ohio, is one of two men serving time for an unprovoked attack on a teenage fairgoer. A former racist skinhead, Hensley is covered in tattoos, including a pair of SS lightning bolts on one arm.

Hensley and Watkins are each serving three-year prison terms for the beating, after pleading guilty to second-degree assault. Hensley was an Ohio grand titan, meaning he oversaw IKA activities in a part of that state. Watkins served as the IKA's webmaster and also was a guitarist in an IKA-affiliated band called the Totenkopf Saints ("totenkopf" is German for "death's head"). One of the band's songs is "No Mercy" and advocates the murder of "spics" and others.

The Center had earlier sued Hensley and Watkins for their actions, but the July 25 filing added the IKA and three other individuals as defendants. It named Ron Edwards, the IKA's founder and highest-ranking member; the local Meade County leader who uses the alias "J. Edward" and as an exalted cyclops had "authority over and responsibility for the operations and activities of the IKA in Kentucky"; and another member participating in the recruiting drive.

"The defendants are members and high-ranking officials of one of the most notorious white supremacist groups in America," said Center President Richard Cohen. "They promote violence and intimidation and call for the death of racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals and so-called 'race traitors.' They targeted and viciously beat our client solely because he has brown skin."

The lawsuit says the boy has endured physical and mental pain and suffering from the attack. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

The IKA's compound in Dawson Springs, Ky., is situated on 15 acres owned by Edwards. It is the site of Nordic Fest, a music festival that brings together Klansmen, racist skinheads and members of other hate groups each May.