GoFundMe has removed the crowdfunding campaign to cover the bail of Darrell Brooks Jr., the man who plowed his SUV through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six and injuring dozens more.
The fundraiser sought to raise $5 million to cover Brooks’ bail.
The page was set up by James Norton, who claimed to know Brooks personally and insisted that Brooks was innocent.
“As someone who knows Darrell personally I can tell you that he would NEVER do such a thing and I know he is innocent of what he was charged with,” Norton wrote. He also claimed that Brooks could become “another black man behind bars in a purely political and racist trial.”
“There is no excuse for this continued treatment of black Americans by prosecutors around the country, everyone must be presumed innocent until proven guilty and we ask that he be treated equally as anyone else in this country would be treated and he should be released until found guilty,” Norton added.
A GoFundMe spokesperson told the New York Post that it “removed the fundraiser before any funds were raised because it violates GoFundMe Terms of Service.”
GoFundMe also said that Norton has been banned from using the platform for any future fundraising campaigns. “Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously,” they added. “Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary.”
GoFundMe’s terms of service prohibit “raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime.” As a result, several fundraising campaigns for Kyle Rittenhouse were removed from the platform but were eventually allowed after his acquittal. The site has nevertheless been accused of unfairly enforcing the ban on raising money for those charged with violent crimes, as it allowed fundraisers for violent BLM activists while those for Rittenhouse were denied.
Brooks had been out on the streets after posting $1,000 bail for running over his girlfriend and causing injury. The absurdly low bail, in that case, has caused significant uproar and undermines the Democrats’ criminal justice platform, which calls for bail reform. In the wake of the Minneapolis riots following the death of George Floyd last summer, the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) raised millions to post the bail of arrested rioters. Even Kamala Harris promoted the fund.
During the campaign, Joe Biden also adopted the cause, claiming that cash bail “is the modern-day debtors’ prison,” and called for bail reform. The Waukesha massacre would never have happened had it not been for bail reform, which made it easy for him to get back on the streets.