Fundraising platform GoFundMe has shuttered a campaign to raise money for Darrell Brooks, the career criminal charged with mowing down marchers and spectators during a Christmas parade on Sunday, killing six people and injuring more than 60 others.
Fox Business, which confirmed the cancellation of the Brooks campaign, reported that the supporters sought to raise $5 million for his defense, the charges of which include six counts of intentional homicide.
The amount was equal to the bail set for Brooks by Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin M. Costello during his initial court appearance on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed that the campaign had been pulled because it violated the platform’s terms of service.
In addition, the spokesperson said that the person who organized the campaign to raise money for Brooks’ bail has also been banned from using the platform in the future.
“Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously. Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary,” the spokesperson told Fox Business.
The fundraiser was first reported by Law Enforcement Today.
The popular fundraising platform has come under criticism in recent days following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse last week. In a statement, GoFundMe said that since the teen was found not guilty of a “violent crime,” the platform could now be used to raise funds for him.
Until the trial verdict, GoFundMe barred support from using the platform to raise money for his defense, Fox Business noted.
“If someone is acquitted of those charges, as Rittenhouse was today, a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy,” a statement from the company said.
“A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser,” the statement added.
But that said, the platform did allow people to raise money for the defense of others who had been accused of violent crimes around the time that fundraisers for Rittenhouse were removed.
For instance, Marc Wilson had a fundraiser set up on GoFundMe by supporters to cover his legal defense after he was charged with shooting and killing a 17-year-old girl, saying it was self-defense.
Fox Business reported that fundraiser was active on Nov. 21, however, it has since been pulled after being created on July 1, 2020.
“It is too early to tell if GoFundMe now will be consistent or whether this is simply a reaction to the negative fallout regarding Rittenhouse,” said William Jacobson, a clinical professor and director of the securities law clinic at Cornell University Law School, in an interview with Fox News.
“The bigger question is why GoFundMe will not permit fundraising for legal defense of people accused but not convicted,” Jacobson added.
“It seems illogical to say that someone can raise money to defend themselves but only after they are acquitted when they no longer need funds to defend themselves,” Jacobson noted further.
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