A GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise $5 million for Darrell Brooks Jr., the suspect in the Waukesha Christmas Parade incident that left six people dead, has been pulled by the popular fundraising platform.
According to The Independent, the campaign was launched by James Norton, who claimed to be a “dear friend” of Brooks. The amount corresponds to the exact bail amount set for Brooks, who was already out on a $1,000 bond when he was arrested for allegedly driving his SUV into dozens of people at the Waukesha’s annual Christmas celebration, killing six.
“On November 21st, 2021 our dear friend Darrell Brooks was arrested for allegedly driving his car into a parade,” Norton wrote in the campaign description, “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.”
The fundraising page was pulled after several Twitter users tagged GoFundMe, signaling that the initiative seemed to be in direct violation of their terms and conditions.
Hey @gofundme doesnt this violate your terms of service.
— 同志 Comrade Snoobage (@ElizaKellee) November 24, 2021
In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed that the Brooks campaign had been suspended as it violates the company’s Terms of Service. They added that Norton has also been banned from the platform.
“Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously,” the spokesperson said. “Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary.”
The decision to halt this initiative has brought scrutiny to GoFundMe, which last week announced that it would allow fundraising initiatives for Kenosha protest shooter Kyle Rittenhouse to resume now that he has been cleared of the charges he was facing.
The platform had previously prevented organizers from supporting Rittenhouse’s defense fund, as he stood accused of a violent crime.
“If someone is acquitted of those charges, as Rittenhouse was today, a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy,” the company said in a statement following the Nov. 18 acquittal.
“A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser.”