- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 2, 2015

A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign set up on behalf of Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray was quickly removed Friday by the company.

“Apparently our GoFundMe account has been suspended with no explanation,” said the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police on Twitter. “We are working to find a new site for donations. Thank you!”

The yanking of the site comes two days after GoFundMe tightened its policy on prohibited crowdfunding after pulling campaigns on behalf of Christian-owned businesses that had refused to serve gay weddings.

In a statement, GoFundMe said the campaign violated its ban on fundraising in defense of “formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts.”

The previous policy, which was broadened after the website removed campaigns last weekend for a Christian-owned bakery and florist, prohibited campaigns in defense of “”Campaigns in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

The Baltimore FOP site had set a goal of $600,000 for the six officers charged Friday in the death of the 25-year-old Gray, who died April 19 from spinal injuries sustained while in police custody.

The police union said in its statement on the now-defunct campaign site that it has been “overwhelmed with the enormous generosity of people from around the world.”

“All monies collected will be used to assist our officers with their living expenses during their unpaid suspension, as well as to help defray their legal expenses,” said the page. “We thank you, in advance, for your continued support.”

During its brief run, the FOP campaign had drawn a rash of criticism on social media. The website Gawker said the page was removed within 40 minutes of being posted.

The police union called Friday for Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby to appoint a special prosecutor in the case, citing her “personal and professional conflict with Gray family attorney William Murphy.”

The union also vigorously defended the officers, saying they were not responsible for Mr. Gray’s death.

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