GoFundMe Site For Six Charged Baltimore Officers Taken Down After 41 Minutes

816fd620-f069-11e4-a4a8-49179b3b0ba2_Baltimore-copsLike many, I am still waiting for the evidence used as the basis to charge the six officers in Baltimore for the death of Freddie Gray. This morning, however, I was disturbed to read that an effort to create a fundraising site for the defense of the officers was taken down on GoFundMe. It appears that the site has a very questionable standard for funding that does not afford accused parties a presumption of innocence in asking for support to fund their defense.

The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police created a GoFundMe page for the six officers after they were charged Friday. However, less than an hour later, it was taken down.

After 41 minutes, it has only raised $1,135 — considerably short of the $600,000 goal.

There is no confirmation on who is responsible. However, the site states the following : “‘Campaigns in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes’ are prohibited by our terms . . . GoFundMe cannot be used to benefit those who are charged with serious violations of the law.” Really? Why? I was under the impression that people were given a presumption of innocence in this country. Why shouldn’t this site be used to help guarantee a fair trial for anyone facing prosecution? Moreover, how do you define a serious violation? Clearly, this case would qualify but where is the line drawn?

This is a site that is designed to help people organize in making donations to support different causes. Giving such charity is a positive act, including giving money to guarantee a fully funded defense. Our criminal justice system is a foundational part of our society. It reflects our commitment to the rule of law. Central to that institution is the presumption of innocence. I find this policy of GoFundMe to be inexplicable and distasteful. Many people want to support the criminal justice system as much as environmental or other causes. The policy makes, in my view, an arbitrary and biased decision in barring those who are accused of serious offenses by the government. It should equally presumably bar those who are viewed as victims of government abuse like journalists or whistleblowers.

I also was a bit concerned to read Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby comments telling protesters: “I heard your calls for, ‘No Justice, No peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.” I generally think it is a bad idea for prosecutors to directly respond to public protests demanding criminal charges. Such protests should not have an influence on the decision to prosecute and it is always a concern, as with Mike Nifong in the Duke case, where prosecutors are seen as too responsive to public demands for criminal charges. This is not meant to suggest that a criminal case cannot be made but these press conferences can undermine the integrity of a prosecution if the chief prosecutor is viewed as too influenced by external events or demands.

346 thoughts on “GoFundMe Site For Six Charged Baltimore Officers Taken Down After 41 Minutes”

  1. Bears repeating.


    “It was previously disclosed that Rice was accused of threatening to kill McAleer and himself during an alleged campaign of harassment between 2012 and 2013, which earned him a temporary restraining order. Rice was twice disciplined in this period by Baltimore chiefs and consigned to paperwork with his police gun and badge revoked, according to police sources.”

  2. Karma comes for Ferguson liar; Dorian Johnson arrested on drug charges, resisting arrest
    May 7, 2015 by Tom Tillison 47 Comments

    Karma paid a visit to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday.

    Dorian Johnson, the man who was with Michael Brown when he strong-armed a store owner and was later killed by former Officer Darren Wilson, has been arrested on drug-related charges, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
    dorian johnson

    Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

    And resisting arrest, to the surprise of few.

    Johnson is the originator of the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” myth that demonstrators rallied around for months — his claim that Brown was surrendering when he was killed was proven to be a lie in grand jury testimony.

    The Post-Dispatch reported Johnson and two of his brothers were arrested Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis. Police said one of the brothers is wanted in nearby Bridgeton on warrants for armed robbery and armed criminal action.

    Johnson, who was hired to work for the city of St. Louis following Brown’s death, was arrested for allegedly possessing a cough medication mixed with an illegal narcotic.

    Fed up Baltimore cops launch ‘MyLifeMatters’
    campaign; the reaction is unbelievable!

    He recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, claiming Wilson assaulted him, violated his constitutional rights and inflicted emotional pain.

    Read more: http://www.bizpacreview.com/2015/05/07/karma-comes-for-ferguson-liar-dorian-johnson-arrested-on-drug-charges-resisting-arrest-202133#ixzz3ZUzg3J2x

  3. @ JT

    In this 2014 article in the New York University Law Review, Professor Joanna Schwartz writes about the police indemnification study she conducted, identifying another major obstacle to holding the police accountable for official misconduct. Until the police have a financial as well as ethical and legal incentive to conduct themselves appropriately, it’s clear to me that police misconduct will continue to be more widespread than it would otherwise be.

    Vol. 89:885, June, 2014

    “This Article empirically examines an issue central to judicial and scholarly debate about civil rights damages actions: whether law enforcement officials are financially responsible for settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases. The Supreme Court has long assumed that law enforcement officers must personally satisfy settlements and judgments, and has limited individual and government liability in civil rights damages actions—through qualified immunity doctrine, municipal liability standards, and limitations on punitive damages—based in part on this assumption.

    “Although my data has (sic) some arguably inevitable limitations, it
    resoundingly answers the question posed: Police officers are virtually
    always indemnified.
    (Emphasis added)

    “Between 2006 and 2011, in forty-four of the country’s largest jurisdictions, officers financially contributed to settlements and judgments in just .41% of the approximately 9225 civil rights damages actions resolved in plaintiffs’ favor, and their contributions amounted to just .02% of the over $730 million spent by cities, counties, and states in these cases. Officers did not pay a dime of the over $3.9 million awarded in punitive damages. (Emphasis added)

    “And officers in the thirty-seven small and mid-sized jurisdictions in my
    study never contributed to settlements or judgments in lawsuits brought
    against them.

    ”Governments satisfied settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases even when indemnification was prohibited by statute or policy. And governments satisfied settlements and judgments in full even when officers were disciplined or terminated by the department or criminally prosecuted for their conduct. (Emphasis added)

    “My findings of widespread indemnification undermine assumptions of
    financial responsibility relied upon in civil rights doctrine.

    “Although the [Supreme] Court’s stringent qualified immunity standard rests in
    part on the concern that individual officers will be over-deterred by the
    threat of financial liability, actual practice suggests that these officers
    have nothing reasonably to fear, at least where payouts are concerned.

    “Although the Court’s municipal liability doctrine rests on the notion that there should not be respondeat superior, liability for constitutional claims, blanket indemnification practices are functionally indistinguishable from respondeat superior.

    And although the Court’s prohibition of punitive damages against municipalities is rooted in a sense that imposition of punitive damages awards on taxpayers would be unjust, my study reveals that taxpayers almost always satisfy both compensatory and punitive damages awards entered against their sworn servants.” (Emphasis added)


  4. @ dim bam
    “I also never stated that I hated Serpico. I merely mentioned, and rightfully so, that dredging up an 85 year old ex police officer, who hasn’t been on the streets, in the capacity of a police officer, for more than forty years, is ludicrous and irresponsible. He has no clue as to what is going on in 2015… He is lucky if he can remember his last solid bowel movement.”

    Suffice it to say that in looking at what you’ve written here regarding police corruption and malfeasance and what Serpico wrote in October of 2014, cited above, his intellection, good faith, and concern for the commonweal hardly suffer by comparison with your own.

    Emphatically to the contrary.

    Your remarks concerning the accuracy and relevance of Serpico’s observations, which are totally congruent with those of the young ex-Baltimore Police Department officer also cited above, are beneath contempt.

  5. Unlike you, randyjet, I don’t advocate for the murder of cops. Only maggots do that. Human beings do not.

    I also never stated that I hated Serpico. I merely mentioned, and rightfully so, that dredging up an 85 year old ex police officer, who hasn’t been on the streets, in the capacity of a police officer, for more than forty years, is ludicrous and irresponsible. He has no clue as to what is going on in 2015. The bullet fragments, unfortunately, still lodged in his brain, don’t help matters. He is no authority on police work. Maybe, at one time, he was. That time has long passed. He is lucky if he can remember his last solid bowel movement.

  6. @ randyjet
    “Now this [Jon Burge] is one of the kinds of cops that I think we all would like to see shot or gone by any means.”

    I don’t know whether you just got rhetorically carried away by your revulsion at the heinousness of Jon Burge’s behavior, or if you actually think he deserves to die, but as a 50-year+ opponent of the death penalty for anyone, I have to register my objection to your call for Burge’s death, if that’s indeed what you meant to say.

    With regard to police criminality, the former Baltimore officer who was treated like a pariah after reporting the torture of a suspect in custody (cited by I. Annie, above) says it all very well, including his explicitly saying that the police are not above the law and should be punished appropriately when they break it, just as would any convicted civilian effecting “street justice,” for example.

    Without civilian review boards with investigative powers, however, self-policing police are almost certainly going to continue to succumb to the temptation to close ranks and overlook, if not actually condone, misconduct by their fellow officers, as happened in the cases of Serpico and the young ex-member of the Baltimore Police Department who was interviewed in the video above.

    Whistleblowers in every line of work always pay a serious price, which is why so many witnesses of wrongdoing are reluctant to become whistleblowers in the first place, and why so much malefaction goes unaddressed.

    It’s simply asking for the retributive trouble experienced by the two officers cited, when the police are allowed to police themselves, rather than their having an independent civilian agency supervising them, not to mention the police crimes that go unpunished and the cost to taxpayers when the crimes become so egregious that huge settlements are awarded to their victims.

    As the general public and responsible civilian authorities become increasingly aware of police brutality and other police crimes by means of documentary technology, we can expect that the police who behave criminally will be more and more frequently identified and brought to justice (or deterred from criminal behavior, in the first place) with the important additional benefit of increasing the safety of the police who do their jobs humanely and within the parameters of the law, as fewer and fewer people will be motivated to resist law enforcement officers and/or effect street justice of their own.

  7. randyjet

    Speak for yourself when you advocate for the shooting of cops. You have more than the right and privilege to call for his dismissal or to ask that this case be reviewed for possible criminal charges. What you don’t have the right to do is state that THIS IS ONE OF THE KINDS OF COPS THAT I WOULD THINK WE ALL WOULD LIKE TO SEE SHOT OR GONE BY ANY MEANS. Your sick and demented mentality is at the root of the rash of shootings aimed, in particular, at our police officers. Scum like you should be ashamed. I know, you have no shame. Maggots usually don’t.

    Now, let’s all listen to the deafening silence from our usual suspects. I. Annie, I thought that your brother is/was a cop? Are you team randyjet here? If not, let’s hear it.

  8. “Chicago approves $5.5G package for police torture victims
    “May 06, 2015

    “The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a $5.5 million reparations package for the victims of the city’s notorious police torture scandal that also includes a formal apology and a promise to teach schoolchildren about one of the darkest chapters in Chicago’s history.

    “The city has already paid more than $100 million in legal settlements, court judgments and legal fees related to the torture of suspects — many of them African-American — from the 1970s through the early 1990s by a detective unit under disgraced former police commander Jon Burge.”


    1. Too bad this scum is still drawing a pension. The laws need to be changed so that if a cop commits a crime, and it is discovered after the statute of limitations has run out on the crime, that he is subject to loss of pension and must pay for damages caused by his actions.

      Now this is one of the kinds of cops that I think we all would like to see shot or gone by any means.

  9. In a Cop Culture, the Bill of Rights Doesn’t Amount to Much

    By John W. Whitehead
    May 05, 2015


    An excerpt:

    “Human Rights Watch notes that taxpayers actually pay three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: “once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police ‘defense’ funds provided by the cities.”

    Still, the number of times a police officer is actually held accountable for wrongdoing while on the job is miniscule compared to the number of times cops are allowed to walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

    A large part of the problem can be chalked up to influential police unions and laws providing for qualified immunity, not to mention these Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights laws, which allow officers to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing.

    Another part of the problem is rampant cronyism among government bureaucrats: those deciding whether a police officer should be immune from having to personally pay for misbehavior on the job all belong to the same system, all with a vested interest in protecting the police and their infamous code of silence: city and county attorneys, police commissioners, city councils and judges.

    Most of all, what we’re dealing with is systemic corruption that protects wrongdoing and recasts it in a noble light. However, there is nothing noble about government agents who kick, punch, shoot and kill defenseless individuals. There is nothing just about police officers rendered largely immune from prosecution for wrongdoing. There is nothing democratic about the word of a government agent being given greater weight in court than that of the average citizen. And no good can come about when the average citizen has no real means of defense against a system that is weighted in favor of government bureaucrats.

    So if you want a recipe for disaster, this is it: Take police cadets, train them in the ways of war, dress and equip them for battle, teach them to see the people they serve not as human beings but as suspects and enemies, and then indoctrinate them into believing that their main priority is to make it home alive at any cost. While you’re at it, spend more time drilling them on how to use a gun (58 hours) and employ defensive tactics (49 hours) than on how to calm a situation before resorting to force (8 hours).

    Then, once they’re hyped up on their own authority and the power of the badge and their gun, throw in a few court rulings suggesting that security takes precedence over individual rights, set it against a backdrop of endless wars and militarized law enforcement, and then add to the mix a populace distracted by entertainment, out of touch with the workings of their government, and more inclined to let a few sorry souls suffer injustice than challenge the status quo or appear unpatriotic.

    That’s not to discount the many honorable police officers working thankless jobs across the country in order to serve and protect their fellow citizens, but there can be no denying that, as journalist Michael Daly acknowledges, there is a troublesome “cop culture that tends to dehumanize or at least objectify suspected lawbreakers of whatever race. The instant you are deemed a candidate for arrest, you become not so much a person as a ‘perp.’”

    Older cops are equally troubled by this shift in how police are being trained to view Americans—as things, not people. Daly had a veteran police officer join him to review the video footage of 43-year-old Eric Garner crying out and struggling to breathe as cops held him in a chokehold. (In yet another example of how the legal system and the police protect their own, no police officers were charged for Garner’s death.) Daly describes the veteran officer’s reaction to the footage, which as Daly points out, “constitutes a moral indictment not so much of what the police did but of what the police did not do”:

    “I don’t see anyone in that video saying, ‘Look, we got to ease up,’” says the veteran officer. “Where’s the human side of you in that you’ve got a guy saying, ‘I can’t breathe?’” The veteran officer goes on, “Somebody needs to say, ‘Stop it!’ That’s what’s missing here was a voice of reason. The only voice we’re hearing is of Eric Garner.” The veteran officer believes Garner might have survived had anybody heeded his pleas. “He could have had a chance,” says the officer, who is black. “But you got to believe he’s a human being first. A human being saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’”

    As I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when all is said and done, the various problems we’re facing today—militarized police, police shootings of unarmed people, the electronic concentration camp being erected around us, SWAT team raids, etc.—can be attributed to the fact that our government and its agents have ceased to see us as humans first.

    Then again, perhaps we are just as much to blame for this sorry state of affairs. After all, if we want to be treated like human beings—with dignity and worth—then we need to start treating those around us in the same manner. As Martin Luther King Jr. warned in a speech given exactly one year to the day before he was killed: “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.””

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