Report: GoFundMe allowed BLM activists and robbers to fundraise while banning Rittenhouse

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KENOSHA, WI – The Crowdsourcing site GoFundMe removed online fundraisers aimed at assisting Kyle Rittenhouse with legal expenses during his trial while permitting fundraising for the legal defense of Black Lives Matter activists and a convicted robber serving decades in prison.

The crowdsourced fundraising service sought to justify its early decision last year to terminate campaigns for Kyle Rittenhouse in a statement after the teen shooter was acquitted of all charges Friday:

“GoFundMe’s Terms of Service prohibit raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime. In light of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, we want to clarify when and why we removed certain fundraisers in the past.

“Once charges for a violent crime were brought against Kyle Rittenhouse in 2020, GoFundMe removed fundraisers that were started for the defendant’s legal defense.

We did this as part of our regular monitoring efforts; in addition to those fundraisers, our Trust & Safety team removed hundreds of other fundraisers between August and December 2020 — unrelated to Rittenhouse — that we determined were in violation of this long-standing policy.”

GoFundMe said the funds could not be collected for Rittenhouse because he was not yet been acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of two men and wounding of a third during a violent, anti-police uprising in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.

“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 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 site went on to claim that it continuously monitors the site for fundraising that violates its terms of service and removes any account that violates those terms.

They also admit that fundraisers that receive widespread attention receive added monitoring to ensure the intended recipient will receive the funds and that the collection does not violate the terms of service.

Remarkably, the same level of “monitoring” is not being done in some circumstances.

For example, despite claiming “GoFundMe’s Terms of Service prohibit raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime,” the site continues to permit funds to be crowdsourced for Dominique Maxey, an alleged bank robber.

The fundraiser, titled “CHARGED WITH BANK ROBBERY DURING GEORGE FLOYD RIOT,” is being organized by Maxey to help pay his defense attorney. Maxey wrote:

“I Created this GoFundMe to Help me get a Federal Defense Attorney. My public defender stated during my court case that I have a mental illness due to some misinformation he received. 

I have stated on my behalf I’m Dominique Malik Maxey beneficiary of the trust and I wish to represent myself. But I’m unable to represent myself until I prove to the court that I am competent enough to do so.

 “In the meantime, I need a(n) attorney that is fully devoted to me, my innocence and my freedom. So that he/ she can provide support, and legal advice to ensure that my record remains clean and that I don’t spend one day in jail or in a psych ward.”

The campaign has raised $140 toward a goal of $40,000.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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Another fundraiser on the site is being collected for Tia Pugh, a woman who was arrested during protests in Mobile, Alabama on May 31, 2020, just days after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In Mobile, thousands of peaceful protesters gathered on that date to protest police brutality. It also drew Pugh and others who went further, pushing against the police line separating the marchers from the on-ramp of Interstate 10.

Pugh swung a metal baseball bat, breaking the window of the police vehicle. Video of the incident became a key piece of evidence at Pugh’s trial, where a jury in May unanimously found her guilty a federal felony for criminal mischief and inciting a riot

U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer sentenced Pugh to time served. He also declined to impose any probationary term but did order her to pay the city of Mobile $572.63, the cost of the window she broke.

Although the case is over and Pugh is a free woman, the fundraising account asks for help paying for her federal defense. Her mother, Stephanie Tullos Tsikrikas, wrote on the site:

“She has representation at the municipal level and is ready to retain counsel for her federal charges. We have received some donations to help with fees and lost wages, however her family still falls short of what it will take to get the proper counsel to beat this federal charge.

“It would mean so much to Tia, her husband, her father and I if we could get support from friends, family, and the community to help us cover the costs of her legal defense.”

Pugh’s fund has raised $2,953 of a $3,000 goal.

Yet another account raising funds for the legal defense for a violent crime is that for Lawrence Edwards, a criminal who has been incarcerated for 13 years on robbery and firearms charges. He is serving a remaining 47-year sentence.

Claiming “over-sentencing,” he wants money to pay for a clemency attorney:

“Due to this injustice of over-sentencing and that I’ve currently done over a quarter of my sentence after exhausting all other remedies lead me to reach out to an attorney that specializes in Clemencies.  After paying $300 just for him to hear my case this attorney expressed that he doesn’t just take any case.

“He only takes clients that he believes has merit and that are candidates to be pardoned.  After speaking with him he strongly believes I fit that criter(ion).  In order for me to continue with his services I have to pay his entire fee up front which is $15,000.”

The account, organized by Angela Monds, has raised $20 for a stated goal of $15,000.

None of these clear violations of GoFundMe’s stated terms of service have been removed. Even more shocking is the fact that the majority of these occurred at the direction or inspiration of Black Lives Matter, who has led riots throughout the country.

One of the most blatant violations of the site’ stated terms of service is titled, “Fundraiser for Tucson Arrestees.” Organized by Tucson Solidarity, the site is collecting legal fees for 12 protesters arrested during a violent demonstration in August outside the Pima County Jail in Tucson, Arizona.

Jail officials said they were protesting the arrest of Anthony Potter, who was arrested by the University of Arizona Police Department for trespassing and several warrants, according to KVOA News.

Officials said the protestors were “throwing flares” and “being disruptive.”

The 12 were charged with felony riot charges. The GoFundMe site claims the arrests were “punishment for political activity” and are collecting money for their legal defense:

“The Tucson 12 arrestees had phones, bikes, and other valuable belongings seized by police, have had to miss work due to time spent in jail/court, and are on a supervised release in which they can’t leave Arizona without the permission of the court. Moreover, those who qualify for public defenders due to low income have received a notice that they will still be charged a minimum of $400 each to ‘reimburse the county for a portion of the cost of [their] legal defense.’ Independent of proving guilt, the state is already imposing a high cost for protest.

“With this in mind, we’ve formed The Tucson Anti-Repression Committee. We are a group of supporters and anti-repression activists in Tucson devoted to combatting the use of criminal charges to stifle political organizing. This is a horizontal organization created for direct support. We are going to use the funds raised by this page to pay for the Tucson 12 arrestees’ legal defense, confiscated phones, bikes, and other items, and to attempt to alleviate lost income from these charges.”

The fundraiser has raised $7,171 toward a goal of $12,000.

The specific terms of service which prohibits fundraising for legal defense of alleged crimes is found under Prohibited Conduct, Section 9 of the site’s terms. The section specifically prohibits:

“The legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, serious disabilities or diseases, financial crimes or crimes of deception.”

Kyle Rittenhouse, an innocent man, was denied the right to use the site for collection of legal defense, while those charged with riot and robbery continue to collect funds. One man has already been convicted of a violent felony and continues to collect funds.

 

 

 

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