Crowdsourcing website rejects appeal for Baltimore cops

WASHINGTON — A popular crowdsourcing website that often raises money for people and families in crisis, including legal fees, has rejected a campaign for the six Baltimore police officers who have been charged in the arrest and death of Freddy Gray.

According to a report by The Baltimore Sun, a representative of GoFundMe said it was company policy that the site does not facilitate defense assistance for anyone charged or under suspicion of “heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts.”

The six officers have  been charged with numerous crimes in relation to the death of Gray, 25, whose spine was 80 percent severed from his neck while in police custody. In an Associated Press report Saturday, the charges stem from their detention of Gray who the prosecutors says was not armed with an illegal weapon or suspected of a crime, their failure to seat belt him in the van, and secure his safety, and their negligence in getting him medical attention when he needed it.

Formal charges include second-degree depraved heart murder, gross negligent manslaughter with a vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct of office.

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, which is raising money for the officers, announced its displeasure with  GoFundMe’s decision on Twitter: “Apparently our GoFundMe account has been suspended with no explanation,” the police union tweeted on Friday.  It is instead asking for donations through its Facebook page.

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This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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