Officer Darren Wilson Defense Fund Outraises Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund

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As the pro-Darren Wilson movement continues to pick up steam, the crowdfunded legal fund set up for his benefit has already outraised the amount of money Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund.

Just three days ago an anonymous person or group calling themselves “Stand Up” set up a GoFundMe campaign to support officer Darren Wilson in his all but inevitable indictment over the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the description, the group says all money raised will go directly to helping alleviate “any financial needs” Wilson and his family may have, including legal fees. At the time of this writing the “Support Officer Darren Wilson” fund has raised over $158,000.

In contrast, Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund, also set up through GoFundMe by the Brown family attorneys, has raised a little over$134,000 and was created five days earlier. The money they raise will go towards helping cover the families costs of any potential legal action the family takes and also the cost of Michael’s funeral and burial expenses.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, many in Ferguson and across the nation were understandably outraged at what witnesses were reporting they saw in the moments before and after Michael Brown was shot. In Ferguson, massive protests have been happening daily calling for Wilson’s indictment in the murder of Brown, and also demanding greater transparency from the police who have so far remained tight-lipped about details in the incident.

Unfortunately, there also appears to be an emerging backlash to the backlash. A growing group of people are counting themselves as Wilson’s – and by extension, the Ferguson Police Department’s – defenders. A few days ago, a rally was organized and held in St. Louis to support Wilson. The crowd, unanimously white save for one, held signs letting Wilson know they were there for him and spoke casually to one another about the various hypothetical ways Michael Brown could have brought his death on himself.

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“If you do what the police tell you do — if you’re not doing anything wrong, and the cops ask you to do something, then you’re not going to have nothing to worry about,” said one man. “There’s no reason to stop. … It’s as simple as training your dog. If you don’t tell them stop biting, guess what, he’s going to continue to bite,” added another.

A few days later, several white Wilson supporters walked into the fray of a Justice for Michael Brown protest and the two sides nearly came to blows.

Eventually police had to escort the women out of the area, accusing them of inciting the crowd. The Wilson supporters later claimed that they were “roughed up” during the altercation, but that claim has been unsubstantiated.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that for many the death of an unarmed teenager is a partisan issue: There are “sides” and where you stand politically decides which one you’re on. Fox News has been throwing itself into the pro-Wilson camp with vigor. Every news station ran the (unrelated) Michael Brown robbery surveillance video again and again, but only a Fox News host introduced by saying “this changes everything.” Many have speculated about what happened in the moments leading up to the fatal shooting but only Bill O’Reilly and his flagship, The O’Reilly Factor, wondered aloud about whether Brown deserved it.

“Most people are upset and certainly they have a right to be upset and make a point that they don’t want unarmed people shot for no reason — but there may have been a reason,” he said. “There may have been a reason.”

The point isn’t to bash Fox News’ coverage, no one expects it to be good, instead these examples illustrate just how politically charged this event has become. It may explain why many are eager to throw money at Wilson; their political identity and his guilt are now inextricably linked.