The Business Of Killing Unarmed Black Teens: The Profits Their Killers Made…By The Numbers

January 19, 2015  |  

A system that not only excuses murderers from facing repercussions, but also rewards them must be a backwards one, right? It was this sentiment that sparked shouts of “#BlackLivesMatter!” that sent shockwaves throughout the country — specifically after the death of Mike Brown who was killed by Officer Darren Wilson. A life, in theory, should be priceless; invaluable and precious. But in reality, slaughtering unarmed Black men in America comes with a profit — notoriety, anti-heroic fame, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fortunes.

Mike Brown’s Killer

A whopping $500,000 — yes you read right — five hundred thousand dollars was raised for Wilson who escaped indictment for the fatal August shooting of Brown in late November. And $500,000 is a “conservative estimate,” according to the anonymous supporter who launched three Facebook donation funds for Wilson, the Daily Mail reported. It’s possible, she says, that those figures — once a total is calculated — could skyrocket to $1 million.

And the anonymous supporter, who chose to remain incognito to dodge vilification, isn’t the only one to support Wilson. Surprise, surprise — the Ku Klux Klan, a group that has historically professed its — erm — “admiration” for African Americans, shockingly participated in some fundraising, too. A KKK chapter led by Chuck Murray of the New Empire Knights in South Carolina reportedly raised $1,000 for Wilson, according to the Daily Dot.

“All money will go to the cop who did his job against the Negro criminal,” The New Empire Knights said, according to USA Today.

There were also two other GoFundMe crowdsourcing drives: “Support Officer Darren Wilson” and “Support Officer Wilson,” raised $235,750 and $197,620, respectively, according to the LA Times.  

GoFundMe was scorched with protests over the crowdsourced fundraisers; their terms of use prohibits campaigns “that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.” To secure their five percent of the blood money, GoFundMe refused to remove the campaigns and simply deleted racist donor comments such as “Thanks for taking out the trash” and “I support Officer Wilson and he did a great job removing an unnecessary thing from the public!”

Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department in late November. But hey, if you got a “mid-to-high six-figure” paycheck from ABC for a George Stephenopolous interview, wouldn’t you quit your job, too?

As of August, the AP Big Story reports that Mike Brown’s grieving family received $280,000 from donors  for funeral, burial, and travel expenses. This pales in comparison to the earnings of their loved one’s killer.

Trayvon Martin’s Killer

George Zimmerman got his fortunes after killing 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin in 2012. Elite Daily, quoting Forbes, noted that Zimmerman — who was found not guilty in July 2013 — collected about $200,000  from his website,

Out of the $200,000, $150,000 was set aside in a trust fund for his lawyers, $30,000 was used to move away from his Florida home, and $20,000 was set aside for living expenses. A year later, in 2013, that $204,000 jumped to  $314,099.07, according to NBC News.

On top of this, The Buckeye Firearms Foundation came up with the bright idea of raising $12,150 for Zimmerman so he can replenish his artillery. Funnily enough, just last week, Zimmerman was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. Who could have seen that one coming?

But wait, there’s more. Using Trayvon Martin’s grave as an entrepreneurial pedestal, Zimmerman sold a blue, latex painting that sold for a whopping $100,099.99. One art critic called it “murderabilia.”

In March of last year, George Zimmerman was paid an undisclosed amount to appear at the New Orlando Gun Show meet-and-greet. Less than 20 people showed, according to IssueHawkfor autographs and photos with the killer. Oh and let’s not forget that horrid “‘Celebrity’ Boxing Match” that almost happened between DMX and Zimmerman. Swarmed by angry tweets, Damon Feldman — the promoter behind the fight — cancelled it and said: “I made the right decision I could of made big $$$ but I would rather be happy”

As of May 2012, Trayvon Martin’s family received $100,000 in donations — Zimmerman collected twice that amount in the same period. Sybrina Fulton — the slain teen’s mother — received $40,825 in paid vacation time in mid-May of 2012 thanks to the generosity of her Miami-Dade employees, NBC 6 South Florida reported. A year later, by the generosity of a few Florida organizations, the Trayvon Martin foundation was presented with a $50,000 scholarship for four graduating seniors.

A system that continues to glorify, reward, and exonerate murderers will cultivate a dangerous mass notion of invincibility which can and will lead to more deaths of black, unarmed men. In the words of Quiet Mike, “Only in America could a police officer get rich by killing an unarmed black man.”

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