Son of Nation of Islam leader ordered to pay couple $800,000 for accident that injured woman
The Associated Press
September 28, 2006
Hammond, Indiana – A jury ordered the son of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan to pay more than $800,000 for causing a highway collision three years ago that left a woman with chronic pain.
Nasir Farrakhan said he had accepted responsibility for the crash, but refused to pay Gladys Peterson’s medical bills because he contended her neck and back pain existed before the crash.
The federal jurors on Wednesday ordered Farrakhan to pay Peterson $448,838 in compensatory damages and her husband, Charles, $15,561, in compensatory damages. They also ordered $350,000 in punitive damages.
Farrakhan’s attorney, Shelice R. Tolbert, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Nasir Farrakhan did not take the stand during the trial. He had already pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness and had served 15 days of community service for his role in the accident.
The Peterson’s also sued Louis Farrakhan, the registered owner of the vehicle, but the suit filed in Indiana federal court was dropped for lack of jurisdiction.
The Nation of Islam emerged around the 1930s in the African-American community and mixed a message of black empowerment with Muslim traditions, but also adopted views that orthodox Muslims consider heretical, such as considering its longtime leader Elijah Muhammad a prophet and linking whites with evil.
After Muhammad’s death in 1975, many of the Nation of Islam’s followers turned to mainstream Islam, but Louis Farrakhan restarted the old NOI under his own leadership.