GoFundMe recently terminated a campaign raising money 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 term that prohibits collecting funds for the legal defense of a violent crime.
The for-profit crowdfunding platform told the Savannah Morning News that they had shut down the latest fundraiser created for Bryan — three were made in total — with the most recent set at $300,000, although it had only received $700 in donations by the time it was closed.
Bryan’s fiancée Amy Elrod reportedly created the campaign, citing that the convicted man was facing financial issues and could not pay his defense fees. The campaign’s description stated, “Roddie had no weapon that day, only his cell phone, to which no one would have known what happened that day without it.”
It added, “He also turned it over to the police on the scene and cooperated fully throughout the investigation. Please help anyway you can to #FreeRoddie #IStandWithRoddie.”
According to GoFundMe’s terms, updated last September, users may not utilize the platform to raise funds for “the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin.”
Before its removal, Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, had also shared the link on his Facebook account, although he noted the money was not for him. Gough later blasted the organization for removing 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 account online, at Spotfund, to fund what are likely to be considerable 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 chased and later shot and killed Arbery in February 2020 while he was jogging in their subdivision near the coastal Georgia town Brunswick.
All three men were charged with one count of malice 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 felony. All parties are expected to appeal the verdicts.
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