Imperial Klans of America
|Headquarters||Dawson Springs, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Affiliations||Ku Klux Klan|
The Imperial Klans of America, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is a white supremacist paramilitary organization styled after the original Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In 2008, it was reported that the IKA had the nation's second largest KKK membership.
The IKA, headed by Ron Edwards, claims to be the sixth era of the Ku Klux Klan. Members of the 6th era, like members of previous eras, claim constitutional rights as part of the "Unorganized Militia". The IKA claims to stand upon Supreme Court decisions in favor of previous Klans. They are headquartered near Dawson Springs, Kentucky and claim external Imperial Klan offices in Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, and South Africa, as well as throughout Europe and South America.
In 2011, a recurring hoax concerning the IKA endorsing Barack Obama was once again exposed as a farce based on a parody website's humorous reporting. In fact, in 2008, Ron Edwards was quoted as supporting John McCain.
In 2010, the leader of the IKA, Ron Edwards and his girlfriend, Christine Gillette were arrested for possession and distribution of controlled substances, including hydrocodone and methamphetamine. After Ron Edwards was arrested, the Supreme White Alliance, a white power skinhead group that had been assisting the IKA with annual hate rock gatherings, broke ties with the IKA.
Gruver v. IKA
In July 2006, 3 IKA members beat Jordan Gruver, a 16-year-old of Native American descent at a Kentucky county fair. In February 2007, IKA members Jarred Hensley and Andrew Watkins were convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for beating Gruver. The Southern Poverty Law Center also filed a civil suit on Gruver's behalf in Meade County, Kentucky against IKA "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards and the IKA for the actions of the IKA members. Morris Dees, together with William F. McMurry of Louisville, Kentucky, represented Jordan Gruver in the trial against the IKA. On November 14, 2008, a jury of seven men and seven women awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages to Gruver against Edwards. Edwards appealed against the ruling, and the court overturned the decision on January 14, 2011, sending it to a second trial in the original court venue. His appeal was ultimately denied by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
During the case, the SPLC received nearly a dozen threats "promising the most dangerous threat" ever faced. A July 2007 letter allegedly came from Hal Turner, a white supremacist talk show host. In 2007, Turner was shown on CNN speaking at an event held on the IKA Headquarters' grounds. On the second day of the civil trial, a former member of the IKA testified that the Klan had told him to kill Southern Poverty Law Center chief attorney Morris Dees.
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- "Imperial Klans of America International Headquarters". Imperial Klans of America. 2008. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
- "FACT CHECK: Barack Obama Endorsed by the KKK".
- "Why White Supremacists Support Barack Obama". 11 June 2009.
- Racist Skinheads Renounce Busted IKA Leader published by splcenter.org
- Klan leader Ron Edwards arrested by the FBI in drug bust Archived 2011-02-12 at the Wayback Machine. published by adl.org
- "Jury awards $2.5 million to teen beaten by Klan members - CNN.com". CNN. November 17, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- "Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds SPLC's Crushing Legal Victory Against Notorious Klan Leader". Southern Poverty Law Center. March 16, 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "Reputed Klan leader denies role in Meade Co. beating". Louisville Courier-Journal. August 15, 2007. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
- McMurry, William. "Klan ordered to pay $2.5 million in civil trial". Courtroomlaw.com. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- "Jury awards $2.5M to teen beaten by Klan members". CNN. November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
- Caperton, Clayton, and Buckingham, Judges. "Court of Appeals of Kentucky: Edwards v. Hensley". findlaw.com. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- Klass, Kym (August 17, 2007). "Southern Poverty Law Center beefs up security". Montgomery Advertiser. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
- "The Noose, An American Nightmare" Archived December 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. CNN Special
- Barrouquere, Brett (November 13, 2008). "Former member: Ky. Klan plotted to kill attorney". USA Today. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- "KKK: Inside American Terror". National Geographic. 2008. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2008.