Sen. Kamala Harris, who Joe Biden picked on Tuesday to be his running mate, promoted the bail fund group that several Biden staffers donated to during the protests that followed George Floyd’s death, which since has posted bail for multiple alleged violent criminals, including an alleged murderer and a previously convicted rapist.
A FOX 9 report from Monday revealed that the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) in recent weeks has bailed out individuals including Darnika Floyd, who was charged with second-degree murder after allegedly stabbing a friend to death, and Christopher Boswell, who is facing charges of sexual assault and kidnapping. The group put up $100,000 on behalf of Floyd and $350,000 on behalf of Boswell.
MFF received about $35 million in the wake of Floyd’s death — which came after a Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes — with at least some of it coming from a number of Biden staffers who donated to the group and then tweeted about it. And Harris, D-Calif., a former prosecutor who served as the attorney general of California for six years, promoted the fund herself in a June 1 tweet, telling her followers that the group would be able to help protesters swept up in clashes with police as unrest gripped Minneapolis.
“If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” Harris tweeted.
But MFF, which received so much money amid the unrest that it asked people to start donating to other groups instead, didn’t just bail out protesters who may have been victims of overzealous policing. FOX 9 also reported that Jaleel Stallings, who is accused of shooting at police during the May riots, was bailed out by MFF for $75,000. Donovan Boone, who was charged with invading the home of his ex-girlfriend and choking her, was bailed out for $3,000. Boone reportedly never showed up to his court date.
FOX 9 found the names of the accused violent criminals bailed out by MFF through a document in court records detailing an agreement that the people assisted by MFF will pay the bail money back to the group.
Harris’ former competitor in the Democratic primary Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., like Harris is a former prosecutor and was involved in a case with Boswell, the man facing sexual assault and kidnapping charges. She prosecuted a rape case against Boswell in 2001 when she was the Hennepin County attorney. FOX 9 reported Boswell was convicted for rape on one other occasion as well.
Those running bail funds like MFF see the cash bail system used by most of the U.S. as unfair and racially discriminatory, allowing those with financial means to secure their freedom ahead of a trial while those without are forced to stay in jail despite the fact they have not been convicted of a crime.
“Our current criminal justice system incarcerates hundreds of thousands of people every year for their inability to pay money bail,” a spokesperson for the National Bail Fund Network (NBFN) – of which MFF is an affiliate – told Fox News for a story on cash windfalls for groups like MFF in the wake of Floyd’s death. “As long as the pretrial detention and money bail system exist, community bail funds exist to get people free.”
Biden is against cash bail. His website calls it “modern-day debtors’ prison.”
“The cash bail system incarcerates people who are presumed innocent,” Biden’s website says. “And, it disproportionately harms low-income individuals. Biden will lead a national effort to end cash bail and reform our pretrial system by putting in place, instead, a system that is fair and does not inject further discrimination or bias into the process.”
Greg Lewin, the interim executive director of MFF, told FOX 9 that it does not matter to him what a person is charged with when he bails them out of jail — just that he is doing his part to battle a system he sees as wrong.
“I often don’t even look at a charge when I bail someone out,” he told FOX 9. “I will see it after I pay the bill because it is not the point. The point is the system we are fighting.”