Fund-raising for Officer Wilson tops $300K
Updated On: Aug 23 2014 05:09:54 PM CDT
Supporters of Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson say they have faced threats over their views, but vowed not to be silenced.
Wilson on August 9 shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown, an incident that stirred racial tensions and unrest.
An unnamed spokeswoman for the Support Darren Wilson group, speaking at a rally Saturday, accused the media of having a bias against supporters of the officer.
"We believe this has only intensified the destruction of the community of Ferguson and the surrounding St. Louis areas," said the spokeswoman.
"We will not hide. We will no longer live in fear," she said. "We ask this question: Can justice ever be attained if one side's supporters are living in fear of speaking out?"
The spokeswoman said that she and her group were not speaking on behalf of Wilson or his representatives, but were making a statement for his supporters. She said she had received online threats against her and her family.
The pro-Wilson rally, attended by about 100 supporters, was held outside Barney's Sports Pub, a popular gathering spot for area police officers several miles south of Ferguson.
Supporters, many of them armed, carried signs saying "Innocent until proven guilty" and "We love cops."
An African-American woman at one point tried unsuccessfully to interrupt the rally, asking loudly why police had not broken up the gathering. A handful of counterprotesters later gathered peacefully across the street.
There are competing versions from witnesses about what happened in Ferguson.
There is agreement that there was a scuffle between Brown and Wilson, but some witnesses say the teen ran away, turned around and put his arms up as he was shot. The officer's version, as told to a radio station by a friend, is that Brown charged the officer before the shooting.
Wilson's actions were warranted and justified, and he counts on the support of many, the spokeswoman said at the rally.
"We believe that the evidence has and will continue to validate our position," she said.
The media is yet to earn the trust of those supporting the officer, she said.
But Wilson's supporters can take comfort that they have plenty of company from all around the country.
The online fund-raising effort for Wilson surpassed $300,000 on Saturday, according to totals from two related pages on GoFundMe.com.
In addition, supporters had raised about $10,000 in cash at the rally.
A post on one of the pages notes that organizers "anticipate these funds will be used to cover potential legal fees, relocation and living expenses of both Officer Darren Wilson and his immediate family."
"We truly appreciate your time, efforts, prayers, kind words and donations," that message added. "It means more than you could possibly know."
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