The GoFundMe crowdsourcing fundraiser for the Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown has been taken over by Shield of Hope, a charity run by the local police union. Since Shield of Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all donations from here on out will now be tax deductible. The original fundraiser had raised over $235,000 before passing on the torch to Shield of Hope. The new Shield of Hope-run page has raised over $11,000 on its own.
Originally called the Fraternal Order Of Police Lodge 15 Charitable Foundation, Shield of Hope was founded in late 2011. (The name was changed shortly after.) According to a filing with the Missouri Secretary of State's office, the charity's board of directors include the Ferguson Police Department's Public Relations Officer Timothy Zoll, Missouri State Rep. Jeffrey Roorda (a former police officer), and Florissant City Council member Joe Eagan.
The Wire spoke with Zoll on Friday evening, who said the goal of the organization is to raise funds to be "allocated to officers in times of need." When asked why Shield of Hope took over the Wilson GoFundMe from its original founders, Zoll said he was "too busy to have taken a deep role in those discussions," but the office had been working with the original founders of the Wilson GoFundMe.
A message on the Fraternal Order of Police website, also direct people also directs people to send donations to Shield of Hope, at the address of Lodge 15.
GoFundMe has been criticized for allowing the original Wilson page to continue, on the grounds that the slew of racist comments posted by Wilson supporters violates the company's terms of service. At the same time the site receives 5 percent of all donations. The company's compromise was to shut down comments.