Alleged ‘friend’ of 39-year-old asked for donations to meet his bail fee
A fundraising page for 39-year-old Darrell Brooks has reportedly been removed by GoFundMe after criticism of raising donations for a man accused of driving his SUV into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin, killing six people.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed to Fox Business on Wednesday that a fundraiser for Mr Brooks had broken its terms and conditions, and that it had been pulled.
The SUV driver was charged on Tuesday with five counts of homicide and for injuring more than 40 after driving into a Christmas parade in Waukesha on Sunday.
Authorities confirmed the death of a sixth individual hours later, and Mr Brooks’s bail has been set at $5m (£3.7m).
James Norton, who claimed to be a friend of his, allegedly started the fundraiser, and as Law Enforcement Today reported, had a target of $5m (£3.7m) in aid of freeing him.
Mr Norton alleged: “On November 21st, 2021 our dear friend Darrell Brooks was arrested for allegedly driving his car into a parade, as someone who knows Darrell personally I can tell you that he would NEVER do such a thing and I know he is innocent of what he was charged with.”
He continued by claiming that there was “more to the story the media is not telling us and I am seeking to raise the bail so Darrell can be released and speak his truth to his side of the story”.
A number of Twitter users shared screenshots of the GoFundMe page on Monday and Tuesday, which now redirects to a “page not found” notice.
Police in Waukesha have meanwhile confirmed that Mr Brooks had been involved in an act of violence earlier on Sunday, and was out on a $1,000 (£750) bail for obstructing an officer and domestic abuse.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office said that bail, set earlier in November, was “inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges”, and after the tragedy in Waukesha.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe told The Independent that “Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously”.
It added that it worked “with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary,” and that the individual behind the Darrell Brooks fundraiser had been banned from the platform.
The website was accused at the weekend of allowing fund-raisingfor Kyle Rittenhouse – the teenager for shooting two men dead in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August – following his acquittal on Friday.
The Independent has approached GoFundMe for further comment.