Dozens Rally for Officer in Ferguson Killing as Funds Are Raised Online

Frances Robles, New York Times, August 24, 2014

An online fund-raising drive for the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot an unarmed African-American teenager to death on Aug. 9 surpassed $300,000 by Saturday afternoon [Editor’s Note: $400,000 as of Monday], as dozens of people gathered at a St. Louis pub to rally on the lawman’s behalf.

One fund-raising web page raised so much money in so few days that it was shut down and a second page was opened, with its donations being directed to a fund managed by the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge. In all, the two pages, which both are on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, have raised more than $300,000 for the officer, Darren Wilson.

“The individual who started the fund didn’t realize it would get so big,” said a woman who organized Saturday’s rally. When pressed for her name, she said only, “I am Darren Wilson,” a play on the popular mantra that emerged after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Florida.

The woman said donations were pouring in from around the nation from people of different races, most of whom were afraid to show their faces or publicly give their names. The site had to remove nasty comments being posted by people angry at Officer Wilson and by people criticizing the 18-year-old he shot, Michael Brown.

A related Facebook page for Officer Wilson had nearly 60,000 “likes.” {snip}

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In a statement she read aloud on Saturday, she said: “Our mission is to formally declare that we share the united belief that Officer Wilson’s actions on Aug. 9 were warranted and justified, and he has our unwavering support. We believe that the evidence has and will continue to validate our position.”

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Participants in the rally wore T-shirts with a logo in the form of a police shield that said, “Officer Darren Wilson I Stand With You.” They were marked “8.9.14” for the date of the shooting. One attendee paid $200 for the shirt, the organizer said.

Organizers of the rally said the proceeds would help relocate Officer Wilson’s family and support him because he was unlikely to be able to work on the streets of Ferguson again. It would also help him if he were to be indicted or sued, she said.

Another fund-raising drive on the same crowdfunding site, for Michael Brown’s family, reached $200,000 on Saturday. {snip}

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