Twelve days after Darren Wilson fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, sparking protests and riots in the town of Ferguson, Mo., supporters have taken to the Internet to raise funds for him.
Thousands of donors contributed more than $180,000 to a gofundme.com crowdfunding campaign in three days after its launch on Aug. 17. by Allison Wilson. (It isn’t clear whether she’s related to the officer.)
The description: “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.”
One of the largest donations, for $1,070, came from Anne Arundel County’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70. Most donations are more modest, in the $5 to $50 range.
Among the comments left by donors:
“Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.”
“I know a lynch mob when I see one. They have nothing to do with justice. And I believe in justice, for everyone.”
“The rush to judgement against this officer has been disgraceful. I wish to help in this small way, in an effort to balance the scales of justice once again.”
“Fight the good fight for the good cops. While some police may be corrupt, we must ensure to lift up and support the good ones who care about the community and protect the lives of innocent people who are too scared to stand up for themselves against the violent hiphop thug culture.”
“It is disgusting to realize that you are being condemned for doing your job and having to protect yourself from an obvious criminal.”
“Thank you for putting that feral ape down so it couldn’t attack any more people.”
“Thank you for all your service to our great country as a law enforcement officer.”
An investigation into the events around the shooting is still pending, but no charges have been filed against Wilson.
People are showing their support for Wilson in other ways, too. There is a “Support Darren Wilson” Facebook community page that has amassed more than 50,000 likes and is selling shirts and hoodies on teespring.com. They feature a badge emblem that reads: “Officer Darren Wilson. I stand by you. 8.9.14.” The shirts cost about $20 — the hoodies cost $30. So far, more than 800 have been sold. All proceeds will go to Wilson and his family, according to the site.
Internet users are raising funds in the name of Michael Brown as well. A Michael Brown memorial fund created by the family’s lawyer, Benjamin L. Crump, has raised almost $150,000 to “assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf,” but not for legal costs, according to the page.