GoFundMe pulls plug on $5mn bail campaign
A crowdfunding campaign raising $5 million for a bail-paying non-profit was pulled by GoFundMe, possibly for being a scam. It drew attention because the amount equals the bail set for Christmas parade suspect Darrell Brooks.
The now-defunct campaign was launched days after GoFundMe banned another campaign specifically seeking to raise donations to set free Brooks on bail. It was written in the name of “Milwaukee Black Lives Matter, organized by Holly Zoller” on behalf of The Bail Project.
It is a charity that seeks to disrupt the cash bail system in the US by posting bail for suspects who cannot afford it themselves. Zoller is listed as a key team member at the charity’s website.
However, the campaign may have been launched by someone with no connection to The Bail Project. Its press manager Joseph Pate wrote to RT, stating that the fundraiser was “fraudulent” and that the charity asked GoFundMe to take it down.
Brooks was charged last week with multiple counts of intentional homicide after driving an SUV through a crowd of Christmas revellers in the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin. The 33-year-old has a long criminal record and was released on bail in a domestic violence case days before the tragedy, which killed six and injured dozens.
GoFundMe forbids raising money on behalf of people accused of violent crimes. Last week, it banned a fundraiser to pay the $5 million bail the judge set for Brooks in the vehicular killings case. The non-specific bail campaign was perceived by many as an attempt to circumvent the platform’s rules.
Fueling the suspicion was Zoller’s past activities, which included allegedly supplying riot gear to protesters in Louisville, Kentucky last year.