Transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets shared details of a data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website with The Guardian. While contributors tried to keep their identities a secret through the fundraiser, GiveSendGo’s anonymity feature, the website held onto traceable information, such as official email addresses.
Some of these officials have given money to Rittenhouse’s legal defense, who has been celebrated by conservatives since he allegedly murdered two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August. His GiveSendGo fundraiser amassed $586,940 between Aug. 27, 2020, and Jan. 7, 2021.
One donation, in particular, came attached with a note to Rittenhouse, applauding his actions. On Sept. 3, 2020, Sgt. William Kelly—the current executive officer of internal affairs in Virginia’s Norfolk police department—made a donation of $25 and wrote, “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”
His message continued, “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.” Kelly’s contribution was made anonymously but attached to his official email address.
A larger donation of $100 came from Michael Crosley, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which oversees America’s supply of nuclear weapons. Crosley also used his official email address when gifting the money.
A number of police officers contributed to a fundraiser for Rusten Sheskey, the Kenosha officer who shot Jacob Blake. The Guardian reports that Sheskey received around 32 donations, amounting to over $5,000, from Kenosha police officers who used their badge numbers to make the contributions rather than their names.
Green Bay police chief, Andrew Smith told the publication that, regarding the donations, his department is “looking into the matter.” As for Crosley, Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said that the engineer made “an honest mistake” and “never intended to use his Lab email on this matter.”
Many are comparing the treatment of Rittenhouse—who’s still very much alive—to Adam Toledo, who was tragically shot and killed by Chicago police in late March. Body camera footage of the incident was released on Thursday, showing that the 13-year-old was unarmed and had his hands up, but was murdered by the police anyway.