SOUTH BEND — The city’s police union has moved the crowdfunding campaign for the officer involved in the shooting of Eric Logan from GoFundMe to another site, claiming “anti-police activists” pressured GoFundMe.
The campaign is now on fundly.com/defend-officer-ryan-o-neill. Harvey Mills, president of FOP Lodge 36, said GoFundMe opted to cancel the campaign for Sgt. Ryan O’Neill.
The original page description said it had been started to help O’Neill pay “legal defense and communications” costs. Logan’s family filed a lawsuit against the city after, authorities say, O’Neill shot Logan on June 16 while investigating reports of a car burglary. O’Neill has said Logan approached him with a raised knife and ignored orders to drop the weapon.
Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for the FOP, said that he was told that GoFundMe had received complaints about the campaign.
Stubenrauch said that he did not know who lodged the complaints, but he responded with an email noting O’Neill was not charged with a crime but was a defendant in a civil lawsuit. A release by the FOP on Monday also defended O’Neill’s actions and said the shooting was justified.
Harvey Mills, president of the South Bend FOP, said in a statement, “Shockingly, GoFundMe told us that they cancelled the campaign because it was in support of a hate crime. 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.”
Stubenrauch said the response from GoFundMe’s community management team stated that it is the site’s sole discretion to cancel campaigns seeking to raise money for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate and other offenses.
Stubenrauch is an Ohio-based attorney who works for the marketing consulting firm Communication Counsel. He said the FOP hired his firm to handle communications because the union was receiving so many media requests.
Stubenrach said the GoFundMe page was up for a little less than 24 hours before he was informed shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday that it was disabled and any donations refunded.
The page had raised more than $5,000 before it was canceled. More than $1,300 has been raised on the new page.
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