The news: In just over four days, a GoFundMe campaign to provide cash assistance to the police officer who shot and killed Ferguson, Mo. teenager Mike Brown has raised around $200,000 from 4,815 people.
"Support Officer Darren Wilson" stood at $199,701 on Friday morning, with one whopping donation of $5,000 and another of $2,500. As the Los Angeles Times noted, the amount has outpaced fundraising for a Michael Brown memorial fund, also on GoFundMe.
Officer Wilson has not been charged with any crime or been arrested and remains on paid administrative leave with the Ferguson Police Department since the shooting occured. So why all the money and support? Here's how the creators of the page describe the fund:
This page has been created to support Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department.
We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives. All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees.
There's no mention of Mike Brown or the disputed circumstances of his death whatosever. The focus of the support is purportedly the pursuit of justice and affirming the authority of the police. But the racial divide is hard to ignore: As Daily Intel summed it up earlier this week, the supporters are "very white."
As Tasneem Raja and John Hendren at Mother Jones point out, some of the comments on the GoFundMe donations are very racially charged. The comments have since been shut down.
Image Credit: John Hendren/Mother Jones
The real kicker: As previously mentioned, the Daily Dot reports that the two other main charity pages supporting the community of Ferguson or Mike Brown's family have pulled in far less cash. #FeedFerguson has pulled in around $151,000, with similar numbers at the Michael Brown Memorial Fund. A page to defend Brown's killer from a still-hypothetical trial, despite systemic bias in favor of police who use excessive force, has raised more than either.
If the demographics of the St. Louis crowd that showed up to rally in support of Wilson on Aug. 17 (124 white people, one black man) is any indication, it's probably mostly older, conservative whites contributing to the fund. A Pew poll on racial attitudes towards the incident found that 52% of white people had some confidence in the upcoming investigation, opposed to just 18% of black people.
Image Credit: Pew
Tommy Christopher over at the Daily Banter points out that the difference in opinion between white and black people over the shooting can mostly be attributed to white conservatives, who have been quick to support Officer Wilson's defense. They've created an "I Support Officer Wilson" page that's gathered nearly 60,000 likes.
Why you should care: The pro-Brown community might outnumber Wilson's supporters significantly, but if the battle goes to court, Wilson might have an easier time with a thick legal fund. Considering the circumstances of Brown's death remain very much under dispute, this surge to support Wilson is an ominous warning that an impartial trial will be impossible.