A bail-based charity Kamala Harris spoke of is attracting attention amid rising unrest and violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon.
In addition to Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic ticket and a California senator, the Minnesota Freedom Fund has attracted celebrity donors such as Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Rob Delaney, Cynthia Nixon, and Don Cheadle. The group aims to direct donations to protesters arrested in Minneapolis during the riots in May following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in his arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department.
Harris tweeted in favor of the bail fund on June 1, two and a half months before she was selected for the Democratic ticket with Biden, a two-term vice president and a 36-year Delaware senator. His bail fund defense has the potential to play into President Trump’s “soft on crime” indictment against Biden’s ticket. Harris, by pushing the bail fund, implicitly brings his experience from a career in law enforcement, including six years as a California Attorney General and seven years as a San Francisco District Attorney.
The MFF raised $ 35 million in the wake of the riots. But in early August, Minneapolis-based Fox 9 reported that the fund rescued defendants from Twin Cities jails accused of murder, violent crimes, and sex crimes.
At the peak of MFF’s popularity, contributions to MFF went from $ 1,000 per day to $ 100,000. The suspects who were released following the granting of the bail fund included a gunman who shot police during the May riots, a woman accused of killing a friend and a twice convicted rapist.
“Often I don’t even look at an allegation when rescuing someone,” said MFF’s Greg Lewin when asked to rescue these suspects. “I’ll see it after paying the bill because that’s not the point. The point is the system we are fighting. ”
Also, according to Jeff Clayton of the American Bail Coalition, there weren’t many peaceful protesters who needed the MFF to rescue them.
“They do not publicly report who they saved. In other words, there’s really no way to find out unless you go, on a case-by-case basis, to extract the files to find out if this bail fund issued bail for these defendants and what we found out … essentially, they weren’t saving protesters peacefully, really quite, “Clayton told al Washington Examiner.
“The peaceful protesters who were arrested and bailed were probably around 10. In the first two weeks, the bail was $ 78 or $ 100 in most cases,” he added.
Lewin confirmed this, telling Fox 9 that only “a dozen” protesters were saved using the fund’s money.
MFF is among many charitable bail funds across the country that carry out the same business as MFF. A nationwide bail fund umbrella raised approximately $ 90 million. According to Clayton, other than New York, no other state regulates charitable bail funds.
“New York has limited the size of the bonds to $ 2,000 or less – to make it through low-level cases, which is what it was originally intended for and they have to reveal where they get the money and who they saved and what the results were,” Clayton explained, noting that MFF also offers to send bail for federal immigration cases.