A GoFundMe campaign in support of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has garnered more than $US200,000 in donations.
The campaign page, “Support Officer Darren Wilson,” was created by a GoFundMe user from St. Charles, Missouri, who goes by the GoFundMe username “Stand Up.” The campaign has raised more than $US202,000 from 4,950 people since its creation on August 17.
The page’s description says:
This page has been created to support Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department. We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives. All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees.
The campaign’s page has been criticised for negative comments from its donors. Twitter users critical of the campaign have been documenting the comments.
Shaun King, who started a Change.org petition to ask President Obama to enact legislation to protect citizens from police violence, has been using Twitter to catalogue screenshots of the inappropriate and racist comments on the GoFundMe page too, including one in which a donor thanks Darren Wilson for his service in the “animal control department of Ferguson.”
As of early Friday morning, GoFundMe says it has deleted those comments.
In regard to the ‘Officer Darren Wilson’ campaign, donors’ comments posted in violation of GoFundMe’s terms have been removed.
— GoFundMe (@gofundme) August 22, 2014
The campaign leaders have also responded to the criticism about the comments left on its site, saying, “We also want to address all of the inappropriate comments submitted on our page. We will be refunding the donations from those who are not supporting Officer Darren Wilson. We hope all can understand.”
A number of people are calling for GoFundMe to shut the campaign down, mainly on the grounds that it promotes “hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime,” something prohibited as per GoFundMe’s terms and conditions.
Some Twitter users have pointed out that GoFundMe collects 5% of the money raised by its campaigns, referring to the crowdfunding platform as “disgraceful” for collecting “blood money.”
By comparison, the GoFundMe page for the Michael Brown Memorial Fund has raised $US154,000 since August 13.
We have reached out to GoFundMe to ask if it plans to shut down the campaign page in support of Darren Wilson and will update this post if we receive a response.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a comment on the “animal control department” to Kevin O’Keeffe. He made no such comment. The error is regretted.
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