Support is growing for the officer who shot an 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Missouri, with several Facebook pages and an online fundraising campaign for his legal defense raising $40,000 in just 48 hours.
As more facts have emerged in the case over the past couple of days, Officer Darren Wilson is finding more people in his corner, supporting his decision to fire on Michael Brown, a 6-foot-4 teenager who weighed over 300 pounds but was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
Wilson’s supporters have established a fundraising page on his behalf at GoFundMe.com. But that page is not easy to find. That’s because the website’s search engine does not produce results for Wilson’s campaign, like it does for a similar fundraising page for Brown’s family.
Searches for “Darren Wilson” and “Officer Darren Wilson” yielded no results at GoFundMe.com Tuesday. A user can view the page if they know the specific URL, which is at www.gofundme.com/supportofficerwilson.
Wilson’s supporters had raised $45,135 as of Tuesday evening with a goal of raising $100,000. The money was raised from 1,044 people in two days.
The administrator of the page, contacted by WND, asked not to be contacted further by the press, fearing that she could become a target of violence.
“Thank you for reaching out. We are not interested in speaking with the press at this time,” she wrote in an email to WND. “Please do not attempt to contact myself or any member of my family.”
“We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives,” a statement on the site said. “All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees.”
The Michael Brown Memorial Fund, by comparison, had raised $89,133 as of 3 p.m., surpassing its original goal of $80,000. The money has been raised in five days from 3,651 people. The Brown family’s page pops up as the second listing on the site when a user searches “Michael Brown.” The stated purpose of the fundraising drive is listed as legal expenses for the Brown family.
“These funds will assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf. All funds will be given to the Michael Brown family,” the page states and is undersigned by Benjamin L. Crump, the Brown family attorney.
WND contacted GoFundMe and was told that Officer Wilson’s page did not meet its criteria for being included in the search engine.
“All GoFundMe campaigns must meet a certain criteria in order to be listed in our Public Search Directory,” said a public relations officer with the company who only identified herself in an email as “Kelsea.”
She said the campaign for Officer Wilson “does not have a Facebook account connected, and so it is not eligible to be listed in our Search Directory.” She pointed WND to the website’s Public Search Directory requirements.
The support for Wilson comes as the first reports surfaced Tuesday about the injury he suffered in the confrontation with Brown that led up to the shooting on Aug. 9, an incident that touched off 10 days of protests and rioting in the suburban St. Louis town of 21,000 people.
Wilson suffered an “orbital blowout fracture” of his eye socket, the Gateway Pundit reported, citing two unnamed sources within the District Attorney’s Office and in the St. Louis County police.
An orbital blowout fracture is a fracture of one or more of the bones surrounding the eye and is commonly referred to as an orbital floor fracture.
Wilson has been a police officer for six years, four with Ferguson Police Department. He has no disciplinary actions on his record, according to a statement by the department. His name was released on Friday, at the same time the department released a video of a tall, young, black man who appears to be Brown robbing a store of a box of cigars.
Meanwhile, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter tweeted Monday night that a dozen local witnesses confirmed Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s version of the Brown shooting story.
USA Today reported that support for Wilson has been growing. A number of Facebook pages have popped up on behalf of the officer and his family, and many of his fellow officers have been weighing in saying they would have done the same thing Wilson did under similar circumstances.
The “I support Officer Wilson” Facebook page had garnered more than 36,000 “likes” by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Indicative of many of the comments on the page was that of Mikey and Billie-Jane Klug, who stated, “Officer Wilson faced off with a big bad thug and defended himself, nothing more to it, and we support him and law enforcement.”
A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether Wilson should be charged in Brown’s death, but it’s unclear how long that may take, Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County’s prosecuting attorney, told USA Today. The Justice Department is conducting a separate civil rights investigation, which also could result in charges.
After a week of rioting, the scene in Ferguson has devolved further every night with reports of more violence. CNN reported that one-fourth of all those arrested have been “outsiders” entering Ferguson and working to agitate the crowds.
There were 78 arrests and four people hurt Monday night as the demonstrations again disintegrated into chaos. Of those 78 arrested, only four were from Ferguson, police said.