Much of the sympathy and the calls for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO have been for the victim in this case, the slain Michael Brown. However, there are those who have spoken out in support the police officer, Darren Wilson, including Robin Clearmountain, a former director of muticultural affairs for the Florissant Police Department, a retired English teacher and a resident of the St. Louis area.
“That uniform trumps everything. That uniform says, ‘I will die for you.’ I adopted all of these police officers a long time ago,” she told The Huffington Post while attending a rally in support of the officer. The article notes that she was the only Black woman at the rally. “I believe in them 100 percent. They are my family.”
Clearmountain said much the same when she spoke with Fox News a few weeks back.
She’s, of course, not the only person to come out behind Wilson. There were two GoFundMe crowdfunding campaigns that raised more than $400,000. According to one of the campaigns, “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.”
Color of Change, the group that seeks to give Black Americans more of a political voice, had pressed GoFundMe to remove the campaign.
“Despite more than 100,000 Color Of Change members calling on GoFundMe to remove the Darren Wilson donation pages and return all profits, the company has taken no clear steps beyond deleting racist comments,” the organization writes in a press release.
In a statement on the issue, GoFundMe emphasized the fact that it has campaigns for both Michael Brown and Darren Wilson.
“Much like Facebook, Twitter, and many other websites, GoFundMe is an open social media platform where opposing ideas and viewpoints exist. If GoFundMe were to remove campaigns because they are unpopular, it would set a dangerous precedent moving forward for all users,” the site says. GoFundMe also makes it clear that it hasn’t raised money for Darren Wilson. And no, the campaign doesn’t violate the site’s terms.
On that latter point, Color of Change seems to take issue. In a campaign statement on its site, the organization writes, “Your own terms of service prohibit ‘items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.’ If Darren Wilson is charged, then it would stand to reason that these fundraisers are in violation of your terms, specifically ‘financial exploitation of a crime.'”
A statement from Rashad Robinson, Color of Change’s executive director goes a step further. “The Darren Wilson GoFundMe pages lower the social and financial costs of killing Black men and boys. They send the message that you will be supported in the aftermath of taking Black life,” Robinson says.
Clearmountain maintains her right to support the police. “I didn’t know being black in America meant that I was in a country club,” she told HuffPo.