After a data breach on the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo last week, several U.S police officers and public officials emails were linked to donations supporting 17-year-old murder suspect Kyle Rittenhouse and Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey.
Rittenhouse is being charged with two counts of first degree murder after he was seen on video shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber at a Black Lives Matter protest in August 2020.
The fund for Rittenhouse reached $586,940, according to the data breach.
The BLM protests started after Sheskey, a former Kenosha police officer, shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake , a 29-year-old Black man.
According to the breach, Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena is also tied to the site for anonymously donating to four officers who were fired for killing Nicolas Chavez, a 27-year-old suspect who was having a mental episode in April 2020.
The Houston Police Department released bodycam footage of the video which shows Chavez on his knees during the shooting and blood on his arms after harming himself. The four officers shot Chavez a total of 21 times.
Although Pena denied donating to the site his email address is associated with the $100 donation.
In an interview with the Chronicle, Pena said he donated $100 to a Houston firefighter whose house burned down and made a $200 donation to Assist the Officer.
Assist the Officer is a Houston nonprofit that supports law enforcement officers who are injured in the line of duty.
According to the Guardian, an email linked to 39 year Houston police veteran and author of The Sniper: Hunting a Serial Killer, Chris Andersen, also made an anonymous $400 donation to the fund.
Andersen’s donation was made with the comment, “I think that Chief Acevedo is part of the ‘unrecognized form of police corruption that Chris Anderson [sic] wrote about in his book’. Hang in there guys!!!”
Andersen did confirm that he donated on the crowdfunding site because he worked with one of the four fired officers, Sgt. Benjamin LeBlanc.
The Christian crowdfunding site is linked to fundraisers supporting officers who are accused of killing Black Americans, a right-wing extremists group called the Proud Boys, and individuals looking for support after participating in the Jan.6 insurrection in Washington. D.C.
The Signal reached out to GiveSendGo for a comment, but didn’t hear back.
Photo: Jose Maria Hernandez/EyeEm via Getty Images
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.