Officer Who Killed Michael Brown Draws More Online Donations Than Brown Family

There has been a national outpouring of support for slain teenager Michael Brown in the form of protests, editorials, social-media commentaries—but it appears that the officer who killed him, Darren Wilson, has outpaced Brown in Internet fundraising, drawing nearly $40,000 more than Brown’s family on the site GoFundMe.

As of this afternoon, the Michael Brown Memorial Fund set up by the Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump had raised $197,085 of a targeted goal of $200,000, with 6,935 donors.

“These funds will assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf,” the appeal says. “These funds will not be used for legal fees; all funds will be given to the family of Michael Brown.”

In contrast,  fundraising for Wilson had raised more than $235,000 from 5,900 donors as of Friday afternoon. The organizers said the funds would be used “to cover potential legal fees, relocation and living expenses of both Officer Darren Wilson and his immediate family.” But the organizers of the Wilson effort decided to shut down the campaign because of the incredibly nasty and racist comments that were left on the site.

Published reports noted some of the comments, which called Brown “a common street thug” and African-Americans “aggressive and entitled primitive savages.” The Huffington Post pointed out that one donor, who identified himself as a Chicago police officer, offered $50 for Wilson to use toward “a lap dance to ease the mind of the negativity surrounding the incident and beyond.”

The comments on Brown’s page were largely much kinder in tone. This comment from Anne Marie Bryant, who gave $20, were representative: “Your son did not die in vain, he brought global awareness to a dire situation that has been going on for a long time. His name will be remembered.”

The plight of Wilson, whose whereabouts have been kept secret, is being decided by a grand jury in St. Louis that, according to published reports, is overwhelmingly white.

Stacy Palmer, the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, told CNN that the fundraising difference on the website wouldn’t include the money raised for the Brown family in places like churches.
Deborah Small, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told CNN that putting too much focus on the online donations leaves out the enormous support for Brown that has been shown on the street, not just in Ferguson but around the country.

“Lots of people are supporting Brown in other ways, and these actions may be more useful than donations,” Small said.

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