Since Wednesday, July 6, when the Black Lives Matter, “white cops are out to get black men” conflict reignited, the family of one of the men killed by police while not following orders opened up a trio of Go Fund Me accounts. As of this writing, the three accounts have raised $288,742. To wit:
- Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds and Dae Dae (the 4 year old) – $48,225 of $75,000
- Justice for Philando Castile (this is the sister’s GFM) – $66,101 of $80,000
- #PhilandoCastile funds for family (this one goes to his mother, Valerie) – $174,416 of $100,000
Yes, you read that right. The women in Philando Castile’s life are raising funds via Go Fund Me. To the tune of $255,000, and his mother – a woman with a rap sheet an arm long with a variety of felonies – has close to double her goal. It is understandable if the family needs help paying for the funeral (they are not cheap) but a HUNDRED GRAND?
In contrast, during the aftermath of the murder of five police officers in Dallas and the shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin was ambushed by a man he had stopped for speeding on Friday, July 8. Officer Mike Flamion was walking to his patrol car when 31-one year old Antonio Taylor – on parole from federal prison on a weapons charge – exited his vehicle, and shot Flamion in the back and neck. Flamion was rushed to one of the St. Louis area’s level one trauma centers. After life-saving surgery, the officer remains in critical, but stable condition. (Rumor has it he has a LONG road ahead of him.)
In support of Flamion, a very well regarded officer, and his family, “his brothers and sisters of the City of Ballwin” started a Go Fund Me page with a goal of $250,000. That is also a lot of money. As of this writing, $88,808 has been raised via that page. Yes, the local first-responder assistance group, Backstoppers, is also supporting this officer, but how is it that in the United States a family of a man shot by police because he didn’t follow orders can raise a quarter of a million dollars in two days?
There is something very seedy in the observation that the family of a man pulled over due to resembling the description on a BOLO and shot because of his non-compliance goes straight to fund-raising. It should be expected with a first-responder. In this case of Officer Flamion, it was not the family of the man, but his co-workers who did the deed. There is no doubt they will reach their goal now that the effort has been disseminated by the scanner Facebook pages in St. Louis County. (While I was writing this article, over $1,500 in donations were made.)
This has been a tale of fund-raising via tragedy. Sad that it is the family of the man in the wrong who reached their goal first. What does that tell the reader about America, truly the most generous nation on earth.
Writer’s note: Antonio Taylor was charged with three felonies on Friday, including assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm. His bond is $500,000. And no, he wasn’t from Ballwin, but a part of the city that this writer calls “No Man’s Land.” Yes, I drive through it from time to time.