GoFundMe drops page of Oklahoma City police officer accused of rape
(CNN) — A legal defense fund for an Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting several women was dealt a setback by a social media website that shut down one of the fundraising efforts, the officer’s family said Thursday.
Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, 27, is being held in jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond and faces 16 charges for allegedly sexually assaulting several women while on the job, according to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. His bond was reduced Wednesday from $5 million.
Holtzclaw’s family raised more than $7,300 on GoFundMe before the website shut down the “Justice for Daniel Holtzclaw” fundraiser, said Jennifer Holtzclaw, the officer’s sister.
“We raised a little over $7,300 before the 5% that is actually taken out for GoFundMe’s fee. I am going to reach out to them again today and ask for that 5% back as they approved for the page to go up,” Jennifer Holtzclaw told CNN.
She also sent an angry letter of complaint to GoFundMe and stated that “within just a few days we had more than $7,000 raised because people do believe in Daniel’s innocence and not into the media hype that everyone is believing into!!!!”
In an email Tuesday from GoFundMe to Jennifer Holtzclaw, the website said it “reviews campaigns that have received a high number of complaints on a case-by-case basis. In this particular case, your campaign contains subject matter that GoFundMe would rather not be associated with.”
In an email to CNN, GoFundMe said it reviews campaigns that draw “a high volume of complaints.”
“In this particular case, GoFundMe determined that the fundraising campaign titled ‘Justice for Daniel Holtzclaw’ would be removed from the site,” the firm said.
The company didn’t elaborate.
The Holtzclaw fundraising campaign has also drawn controversial comments on its Facebook page, as family members acknowledged on that site that they turn off the comments field at night “so we can get some needed rest from deleting horrible comments,” wrote relative Leslie A. Holtzclaw.
The family is now raising funds for Daniel Holtzclaw’s bail through a PayPal email account listed on a Facebook page. That account was established late Wednesday and Jennifer Holtzclaw didn’t have an immediate figure on how much has been raised, she said.
The family is also selling “Free The Claw” and “#Justice4DanielHoltzclaw” T-shirts for $25 and has sold 32 shirts for the legal fund, Jennifer Holtzclaw said. Daniel Holtzclaw has been in jail since his arrest last month.
If Holtzclaw is able to post bond, he would be placed under house arrest in the Enid home of his father, Eric, who is a lieutenant with the Enid Police Department, according to the affiliate and the family’s Facebook pages.