We’ll let go for now CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s query if donating to a fund for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson makes one a racist. More worthy of investigation is why two fundraising pages for Officer Wilson were suspended on Saturday.
Several media outlets have picked up the story, but one fact isn’t in dispute: the two pages raised a whopping $400,000 combined before being suspended.
Lindsay Toler of the Riverfront Times reports that tax issues are a big part of the story.
[Missouri state] Representative Jeff Roorda tells Daily RFT he’s trying to determine whether Shield of Hope, the organization managing the donations, is legally allowed to spend the funds on Wilson’s legal defense since it is a registered 501c3 nonprofit. Most donors expected their money to pay for lawyers, legal fees and other expenses related to Wilson’s prosecution, Roorda says.
“If we find money was donated to the Shield of Hope’s GoFundMe and it can’t be used for the express purpose it was intended for, we will return it,” says Roorda, one of the officials listed on the nonprofit’s state records, along with Ferguson police officer Timothy Zoll and Florissant councilman Joseph Eagan.
If the nonprofit can spend the funds on Wilson’s legal defense, it will, Roorda says. For now, that’s a question for a tax attorney.
Those issues concern the second page set up for Officer Wilson. The first raised $235,550, and Roorda, who is vice president of Shield of Hope, says the first page was started by a teenage girl who asked Shield of Hope to take over the page after receiving threats. That page will not reopen because GoFundMe does not allow administrators to transfer pages to other groups.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a GoFundMe page run by the attorneys for Michael Brown’s family has raised $317,143 as of Monday evening.
Upfront Media Group founder Shaun King led an effort to have the Wilson pages taken down for violating GoFundMe’s rules for hate, and at one point, an opponent of the Wilson fundraiser claimed that donating to the fund was “no different than supporting ISIS.”