Skip to main content

Minnesota bail fund nonprofit receives online threats over post-protest donations

The Minnesota Freedom Fund was a popular choice for donors after George Floyd's death.

A Twin Cities nonprofit that received more than $30 million in donations in the wake of the civil unrest has been the target of online threats over claims it's not distributing its funds quickly enough.

Minnesota Freedom Fund pays cash bails and immigration bonds for those arrested in Minnesota who can't afford to bail themselves out, and was a popular choice for donations following the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and riots.

But on Monday, it became a target for criticism on Twitter, with said criticism seemingly whipped up by suspicious accounts, after it announced it has so far paid out more than $200,000 in bail since the unrest, and was "working on doing more."

The organization also removed its staff page after it was criticized for showing all-white staff, but it has told BMTN that it did because its board members and staff were receiving threats of doxxing – the malicious publishing and sharing of individuals' private information. 

Board president Octavia Smith also said that contrary to the claims online, 4 of its 7 board members are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color).

The registered nonprofit has found itself with significantly more donations than it is used to handling, and in response to the criticism that it hasn't made enough bail payments in the wake of the unrest, Smith said that's because most of those arrested during the protests weren't jailed.

"Instead they were given citations and were then released," she said. "We are working with a group of arrestees to provide legal support."

She went on to say that before the death of Floyd and the protests that followed, its ability to pay bails was limited to $1,000 a day and $5,000 a month for immigration bonds.

"Due to the uprising we are still paying bails daily and the amount can be between $78 to $78,000 and beyond," she said.

The nonprofit has also said that it is "scaling up" in the wake of the deluge of donations so it can handle more cases, while its website has posted links to several other funds to encourage people to donate their money elsewhere.

It has also received support from some in the Twin Cities who are familiar with its work.

On Twitter, it posted a thread in which it explained how much has changed in the past month.

"We are a volunteer community fund who until last month was doing all we could to pay a handful of misdemeanors each month, steadily paying, getting funds back, raising more $ when we could, doing it again," it posted.

"This is the part where transparency gets exciting. We get to talk about all the people sitting in jail who didn't take plea deals, sitting in jails pre-trial. We can share about the race and class disparities of those jailed pre-trial. And we can take action we'd only dreamed of."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The "legal support" it is providing refers to those protesters who "had no bail but were scooped up and charged, and now have ongoing legal costs," which it says could cost tens of thousands of dollars in representation, court fees, and transportation costs.

"Part of fighting pre-trial injustice means making sure people aren't pleading guilty on bullshit charges, like being hit with Riot while on a friend's porch, which happened," it said.

You can read the MFF's full Twitter thread here.

Next Up

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.

ShutterflyGoogle

Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.

millcitymuseum_hr1

Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.

HolmgrenMugRamseyCo

Man charged with attempted murder of White Bear Lake police officer

Daniel Holmgren Jr., 33, was being served an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.

image

Gallery: 1,000-acre Wisconsin resort listed for nearly $4.3M

The lush landscape features a creek and private lake.

school bus

Alert after Woodbury students approached by strangers asking if they want candy

Valley Crossing Elementary School urged parents to go over safety information with their children in response to the incident.

basketball unsplash stock

North St. Paul basketball cancels Eden Prairie game after opposing coach's reinstatement

Head Coach Cornelius Gilleylen said he let his players decide amongst themselves.

Pixabay - school - classroom

These are the nominees for 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Education Minnesota has nominated 131 teachers from across the state.

TyreNicholsGoFundMe

Cities prepare for release of footage showing Tyre Nichols' fatal arrest by Memphis PD

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara issued a statement on the incident Thursday.

Related

George Floyd

51 arrested in Minneapolis protests after Chauvin is released from prison

The former officer charged in George Floyd's death posted bond Wednesday and was released, prompting the largely peaceful protests in Minneapolis.

Image from iOS (1)

Amnesty Int'l identifies human rights violations by police during MN protests

The human rights organization says it identified 125 violations in protests across the U.S.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.48.13 PM

Sauk Rapids releases 2 firefighters over offensive comments on protests

Both the firefighters made comments or shared posts suggesting protesters should be killed.

Screen Shot 2020-06-04 at 5.32.56 PM

Racist post by family member results in Holy Land's lease being terminated

It's the latest in a series of firings in Minnesota following offensive comments in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.48.13 PM

Trucker who drove toward protesters on I-35W bridge charged with felony

The 35-year-old from Otsego is also facing a gross misdemeanor charge.

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 7.24.50 AM

Dozens of arrests as peaceful protest continues past curfew in St. Paul

Protesters in Minneapolis meanwhile stayed at 38th and Chicago till the early hours.

Longtime St. Paul resident Angela Elder Woodbury came to clean debris left by riots in Midway with her 5- and 3-year-old. “It’s a good way to learn how to help when they can,” she said.

UnitedHealth to donate $10 million, fund volunteer hours after Twin Cities unrest

The company says it has also created an education fund for George Floyd's children

First avenue

A list of the organizations cutting ties with Minneapolis police

The University of Minnesota started the trend shortly after the death of George Floyd.