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Several of the witnesses who testified against now-convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin have reportedly been profiting bigly from their deeds.
Two activists, Angela Shelby and Mica Cole Kamenski, set up a GoFundMe last summer to raise $500,000 for Darnella Frazier, the 18-year-old woman who’d filmed Floyd’s final moments when she was only 17.
By the time of Chauvin’s April 20th conviction for the second- and third-degree murder of deceased Minneapolis criminal suspect George Floyd, the fund had been up to about $530.000.
Following Chauvin’s conviction, Shelby and Kamenski published an update calling for more money for Frazier because she “deserves peace and healing” from “the trauma of watching a black man be murdered by police.”
“[S]he has had to deal with trolls, bullies and ignorant people harassing her online. It took unbelievable courage for her to stand there and bear witness to such an awful tragedy. We all have our roles to play in the revolution against white supremacy. Darnella played an important one and should be uplifted, not shamed,” they wrote.
As of May 6th, the fund was up to nearly $700,000.
Another witness, Donald W. Williams II, launched his own GoFundMe last summer that asks for up to $500,000 in donations for “healing.”
The page had only $8,000 in donations by March 17th, as seen in the Wayback Machine, but had catapulted to nearly $16,000 by May 6th.
Williams, a mixed martial artist who previously trained off-duty police officers, stumbled on Floyd’s arrest last May and was so disturbed by what he’d seen that he called the police on Chauvin and his partners.
“I believe I witnessed a murder. … I felt the need to call the police on the police,” he testified in late March.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 1, 2021
The most sympathetic of the witnesses appeared to be Charles McMillian, who broke into tears while testifying last month about how he’d spotted Floyd’s arrest while driving and pulled over to figure out what was happening.
“Moments later, he would witness an altercation between George Floyd and police officers that led to Floyd’s death and eventually ignited a nationwide movement against systemic racism and police brutality,” according to The Washington Post.
Around the start of April, McMillian’s son, Charlie, launched a meager GoFundMe to raise $15,000 so that his father could visit his own mother’s burial in Mississippi and also pay for therapy.
“Many of you have seen my Father, Charles McMillian, testify in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Helplessly witnessing the murder of George Floyd, and hearing him call out for his Mother before he took his last breath hit my Father at the deepest level. My Father now suffers from PTSD and does not go outside without a bulletproof vest on,” the GoFundMe reads.
“It is difficult for him to go about his daily business without reliving this past year’s events. Please help my Dad get the funds to make life a bit easier for him. He is not a well-off man. He has a third grade education, and does what he can to survive, a broken vehicle. and working a job that barely gets him by. He has only been to Mississippi, where he was born, and Minnesota where he lives- his entire life. If I were able to give him more, I would.”
The GoFundMe concludes, “My Dad is asking for help to go visit my Grandmother’s burial in Mississippi, with my younger Brother and to have money for therapy to help with the PTSD of this past year. I am asking that you give what you can to help my Dad’s remaining years be a little bit easier. I humbly thank you. His son, Charlie McMillian.”
As of May 6th, the GoFundMe was up to only a tad over $10,000.
The St. Paul-based son of Charles McMillian, a key witness in the George Floyd case/Derek Chauvin trial, is raising funds for his dad to take a therapeutic trip to visit his mother’s grave. https://t.co/DNmu8w2nqT
— Frederick Melo, Reporter (@FrederickMelo) April 3, 2021
Meanwhile, a FundRazr set up on behalf of Judeah Reynolds, who was nine when she witnessed Floyd’s arrest, was up to over $20,000 by early May.
“Nine-year old Judeah Reynolds isn’t old enough to watch a PG-13 movie, but she watched a real-life murder that was more chilling and senseless than anything Hollywood could invent, a scene that took longer than any scene in a Hollywood movie would allow,” the fundraiser reads.
“Judeah Reynolds matters! Her journey matters, her story matters, her future matters. HER BLACK LIFE MATTERS! This brave little girl is in the crossroads and the crossfire of history and she and her family need stability, a home and the necessary essentials to be safe. Judeah wants to be heard and she needs to live in a world that values her and nurtures her power. Judeah is brave and she wants to tell her story in a book so others can be brave too when they experience tis hurt and pain,” it continues.
There’s also a fundraiser for Christopher Martin, the store clerk who Floyd had tried to pass a fake $20 bill to prior to the events that transpired before his death.
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