Fundraisers for William “Roddie” Bryan, one of three men convicted last week of murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, were shut down in recent days.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe said Thursday that the crowdfunding platform had removed three fundraisers for Bryan this week before any funds were raised.
“GoFundMe prohibits raising money for the legal defense of a violent crime,” the spokesperson said.
The campaign, started by Bryan’s fiancée, Amy Elrod, had a goal of $300,000. Elrod did not immediately return requests for an interview.
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, said Thursday: “The right to counsel, a guarantee enshrined in our Constitution, means little if ordinary people like Roddie Bryan cannot raise funds for their defense — and that includes the right to raise funds for appeal.”
He said the “cancellation of legitimate online efforts to raise funds” for Bryan “is simply the latest manifestation of a woke left mob mentality that relentlessly seeks to undermine the institutions of our government.”
Bryan, along with father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, were found guilty Nov. 24 in the pursuit and fatal shooting of Arbery, 25, a Black man, last year.
The defendants, all of whom are white, chased Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020, after they spotted him running through the Satilla Shores neighborhood, where they lived. Travis McMichael shot Arbery with a shotgun at close range. He had claimed he did so in self-defense.
The jury found Travis McMichael guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder.
Bryan recorded a video of the fatal encounter on his cellphone. Defense attorneys had said their clients suspected Arbery was a burglar and were trying to make a citizen’s arrest, which was legal at the time. The three men face sentences of up to life in prison. Their sentencing date has not yet been announced.
They were free for several weeks after Arbery’s killing, which has been likened by many to a modern-day lynching and inspired racial justice protests last year. The three men were arrested months later, after Bryan’s cellphone video leaked and sparked widespread outrage.
Elrod asked people to send money to a Venmo account in a post on her Facebook page.
“We are asking for help with our appeal fund for William ‘Roddie’ Bryan,” the post said. “He filmed the Ahmaud Arbery shooting in Satilla Shores Brunswick, Ga.”
The post said an appeal was being requested “so the whole truth can be told and not the media’s story or made up stories to fit political narratives.” It ended by saying: “Roddie, his family and I appreciate any help.”
Gough slammed GoFundMe in a statement Tuesday on his Facebook page.
“Shame on GoFundMe for cancelling Roddie’s fundraiser for his appeal,” Gough wrote.
He said Bryan’s friends and family had set up a new account at Spotfund “to fund what are likely to be considerable legal costs associated with his appeal.” Gough said the money was not for him and asked people to be generous. That campaign has also been removed.