Tech platforms are now judge and jury when it comes to determining someone’s guilt.
The donation website GoFundMe canceled a fundraiser that supported South Bend, Indiana, police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill. On June 16, Sgt. O’Neill shot an African-American man named Erick Logan and claimed it was self-defense. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) posted a fundraiser, only to be accused by GoFundMe of trying to “defend a hate crime.” The platform removed the fundraiser on July 2 after notifying the FOP.
O’Neill said that Logan, a convicted felon, broke into cars with an eight inch knife and threatened him. O’Neill was forced to shoot him out of self defense. GoFundMe has claimed that shooting this man was a “hate crime.”
Evidence is limited because the officer’s body camera was not on. According to CBS News, “O'Neill did not activate his body camera during the encounter.” Even without evidence, Black Lives Matter activists have still called for O’Neill’s firing.
FOP President Harvey Mills said he believed anti-police activists were behind the cancellation. Mills came out with a statement saying, “This is fundamentally wrong and I'm shocked that a company would accuse a police officer of a hate crime simply for defending himself from an armed attacker.”
Shortly after the fundraiser was taken down, Mills opened another fundraiser on Fundly. This one raised more than $33,000 in under 24 hours.
South Bend Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigeig has not defended the police. The force is now accusing the mayor of being more concerned about his campaign than this trial. They have also claimed that he has wrongfully accused them of racism for political gain.
In last week’s Democratic debate, Buttigeig said the police force had to “move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism.” Another candidate answered this by calling for the police chief’s firing.