Amidst unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last August, then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse decided to play cop, galivanting with militia groups to patrol the streets and intimidate protesters under the guise of protecting small businesses. By night’s end, Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and wounded another with an AR-15 style rifle before returning to his home in Illinois and eventually turning himself in.
Rittenhouse was charged with multiple counts of homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm. But Rittenhouse claims he shot the three men in self-defense, and the right eagerly rallied around him, including then-President Trump, characterizing him as an innocent kid warding off Black Lives Matter goons. Before long, donations started pouring in via Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo, totaling over $1 million. And now, thanks to a data breach, a slew of Rittenhouse’s donors have been revealed.
To the surprise of no one bothering to pay attention, a bunch of the donors are cops.
From the Guardian:
Among the donors were several associated with email addresses traceable to police and other public officials.
One donation for $25, made on 3 September last year, was made anonymously, but associated with the official email address for Sgt William Kelly, who currently serves as the executive officer of internal affairs in the Norfolk police department in Virginia.
That donation also carried a comment, reading: “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”
The comment continued: “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”
And here’s an additional disturbing tidbit: “Another Rittenhouse donor using an official email address was Craig Shepherd, who public records show is a paramedic in Utah. This donor gave $10 to Rittenhouse on 30 August.”
It’s bad enough to have to worry about a cop’s tolerance of right-wing violence, but someone whose job it is to help save your life in an emergency situation? Great.
The data breach also revealed a slew of donors for Rusten Sheskey, the white Kenosha police officer who shot Blake, who is Black. Sheskey returned to duty this week.
Two $20 donations to Sheskey’s fund were associated with email addresses of a pair of lieutenants in Green Bay, Wisconsin’s police department. One, given under the name, “GBPD Officer”, was tied to an address associated with Chad Ramos, a training lieutenant in the department; another anonymous donation was associated with Keith A Gehring, who is listed as a school resources officer lieutenant.
Another donation to Sheskey was associated with the official email address of officer Pat Gainer of the Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin police department. Given under the screen name “PPPD Motor 179”, the donation also carried the comment: “Stay strong brother.”
How does anyone expect something like this to be reformed?