Supporters of a man charged with homicide in the shooting deaths of two anti-racism protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week have collected more than $265,000 for his legal defense via a Christian crowdfunding website. The four credit card companies being used to raise the funds have so far stayed silent on the campaign.
Police arrested 17-year-old Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse and charged him with multiple felonies, including two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of attempted first-degree homicide, and one count of endangering safety with a deadly weapon.
The two people killed in the shootings were protesters demonstrating against police violence after a Kenosha police officer repeatedly shot in the back and seriously wounded Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man.
Some on the right have rallied in support of the alleged killer, praising his actions. While GoFundMe rejected multiple fundraising efforts for him as violations of its terms of service, a campaign on GiveSendGo, a smaller Christian crowdfunding site, has exceeded its $200,000 goal.
The site accepts donations made using American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa. None of those credit card companies immediately responded to inquiries about whether the campaign complies with their terms of service.
The GiveSendGo campaign, organized by a group purporting to be "friends" of his family, claims that Rittenhouse "just defended himself from a brutal attack by multiple members of the far-leftist group ANTIFA" and urges donors to "give back to someone who bravely tried to defend his community." As of Monday afternoon, they had raised $268,881 from more than 6,100 donations.
GiveSendGo did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story, but has bragged of being "the only platform that has allowed a campaign" for Rittenhouse.
Three years ago, in the aftermath of the deadly white nationalist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, both Discover and Visa said they would no longer allow violent hate groups' websites to use their cards for payments. That decision followed pressure from the racial justice nonprofit group Color of Change, which accused the companies of helping transfer what it termed "blood money."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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