GoFundMe is continuing to allow police officers that murder Black people to use its platform to profit!
I’m upset. Shortly after hearing the news that Daniel Pantaleo, the man who killed Eric Garner, would finally be fired from his job as a New York City police officer, I came across a GoFundMe fundraiser stating it was raising money for Pantaleo and his family. This isn’t the first time GoFundMe has allowed killer cops to profit from Black death. Back in 2014, the site hosted numerous fundraisers for Darren Willson, the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, an unarmed Black teenager. Back then Color of Change members helped us gain over 400,000 petition signatures and we got GoFundMe to donate all of the profits they made off of the racially motivated fundraiser, to the Ferguson-Florissant School District. This time we need them to do better for Eric Garner and his family, by shutting down the fundraiser immediately and returning all the funds back to donors ASAP.
Pantaleo’s fundraiser currently has over 2,500 donors and has raised over $150,000, and I’m sure that both of those numbers will have increased by the time you read this email. The description of the fundraiser reads like a cruel joke, stating “Let’s help an officer in need who was only doing his job!” But no matter what kind of spin Pantaleo and his supporters want to put on it, the facts are clear. Eric Garner’s death was ruled a homicide, and the NYPD’s own investigation determined he lied and both things led to him being rightfully fired from his job.
Daniel Pantaleo is now attempting to use GoFundMe to profit and skirt responsibility for his own actions, instead of taking this time to do some deep reflecting on his own actions and how they landed him in a position of being unemployed with a newborn. I’m sure the irony isn’t lost on you, that a man who choked another man to death as he exclaimed “ I can’t breathe,” 11 times is asking for the compassion and kindness of strangers, something he never afforded Eric Garner. This is a slap in the face of the Garner family, organizers, and Color of Change members, who have fought to get justice for Eric Garner over the last five years.
For GoFundMe to allow this fundraiser to continue is not only morally indefensible, but it is also in clear violation of the platform’s own policy which clearly states that they prohibit,“items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.”4 That’s why we need your help in telling GoFundMe to immediately suspend the fundraiser and to stop letting killer cops profit!
We know that a fundraiser like this only exists to further demoralize Black people in our pain and in our death. It’s a final grasp of power, that says not only can the police kill Black folks and get away with it, but that they can also profit from that death. But we know the only way to stop the war against Black people, is to organize, take action, and fight back! We won in 2014, and with your help, we can win again.
GoFundMe has the power to stop Daniel Pantaleo from profiting from his crimes. I’m urging you to fight with me and demand GoFundMe act as a leader in the digital crowdsourcing space, by telling GoFundMe to take a stand against state-sanctioned violence against Black people and to suspend Pantaleo’s disgusting fundraiser. If GoFundMe does not act, it will send a dangerous message to Black people, our allies and those who seek to harm us. So join in this fight for justice, because I refuse to let Eric Garner down.
Until justice is real,
–Malachi, Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Erika, Clarise, Marybeth, Marena, Madison, Leonard, Tamar, and the rest of the Color Of Change team