GoFundMe recently launched a fundraising campaign for William “Roddie” Bryan, one of the men convicted last month of murdering Ahmaud Arbery after it said the fundraising campaign violated the company’s terms banning raising funds for the legal defense of a violent crime.
The for-profit crowdfunding platform told Savannah Morning News that they had closed the latest fundraiser set up for Bryan – three were made in total – with the latest set at $ 300,000, even though it had only received $ 700 in donations when it closed.
Bryan’s fiancée Amy Elrod allegedly set up the campaign, citing that the convicted man was facing financial problems and could not pay his defense fees. The campaign description said, “Roddie had no weapon that day, only his cell phone, which no one would have known what happened that day without it.”
It added: “He also handed it over to the on-site police and cooperated fully throughout the investigation. Please help, whatever you can, with #FreeRoddie #ISstandWithRoddie.”
Under GoFundMe’s terms, updated last September, users may not use the platform to raise funds for “the legal defense of alleged crimes of hatred, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism or intolerance of any kind related to race, ethnicity , national origin. “
Before it was removed, Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, had also shared the link on his Facebook account, though he noted that the money was not for him. Gough later blasted the organization to remove the account.
“Shame on GoFundMe for canceling Roddie’s fundraiser for his appeal,” Gough wrote on Facebook. “Friends and family of Roddie Bryan have set up a new online account with Spotfund to fund what are likely to be significant legal costs associated with his appeal. The money is NOT for me. Not a penny. Please be generous.”
Bryan and father-son duo Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael were found guilty of murder. They hunted and later shot and killed Arbery in February 2020 while jogging in their subdivision near the coastal town of Brunswick in Georgia.
All three men were charged with one count of malicious murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit a crime. All parties are expected to appeal the judgments.
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