An online fund for the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month has raised over $190,000. The GoFundMe page for Darren Wilson has raised $191,762 from 4,581 people in four days.
The speed at which donations are being made to Wilson's fund is notable -- the page raised $77,000 in the last 24 hours, prompting the organizers to up their fundraising goal three times to $200,000. The largest individual donation received was $5,000, from a user called Michael Gardner. In comparison, the Michael Brown Memorial Fund, also on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website, has raised $148,000 from 5,435 people in eight days. Wilson's shooting of Brown, 18, on Aug. 9 has sparked mass protests in the city.
The organizers of the page say, “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.”
Along with the flood of donations, organizers have also seemingly had to contend with racially-charged commentary. Donors can leave a message on the page when they make their donations, and many have written derogatory comments about Brown, “illegal immigrants” and ethnic minorities.
In an update posted Thursday evening, organizers said that they “want to address all of the inappropriate comments submitted on our page,” though at the time of writing, they had not done so.
Supporters of Wilson have previously rallied in Ferguson and sold T-shirts to raise money for the officer. Although, as the Huffington Post notes, pro-Wilson gatherings have been significantly smaller than the protests around Brown's death.
Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump says on GoFundMe that the money raised will go directly to the Brown family and not toward legal fees, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Grand jury hearings are taking place to determine if charges should be brought in the case.