At least 13 members of Joe Biden’s campaign staff have made donations to a group that helps Minneapolis protesters get out of jail on bail, according to a report.
The staffers posted on Twitter that they contributed money to a group called the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which opposes the practice of making people who are arrested pay money to avoid pre-trial imprisonment, Reuters reported.
Biden himself opposes cash bail, comparing it to a “modern day debtors prison,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Reuters.
But the campaign would not comment on whether the staffers’ donations were made in coordination with the former vice president’s campaign, the report said.
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, the Minnesota Freedom Fund raised about $20 million over four days, Forbes reported.
Prior to Floyd’s death, the group had raised only about $75,000 to $80,000 so far in 2020, the report said.
Celebrities who’ve helped spread the word about the group include singer and actress Janelle Monae and actor Seth Rogan, both of whom have pledged to match donations, Forbes reported. But the group has since announced it is no longer soliciting donations and urges people to instead donate to Floyd’s family or African-American community organizations in the Twin Cities area.
Responding to Reuters about the Biden staffers, the Trump 2020 Campaign said it was “disturbing” that Biden’s staff “would financially support the mayhem that is hurting innocent people and destroying what good people spent their lives building.”
In a statement Saturday, Biden called protests following the death of Floyd “an utterly American response,” saying such actions were “right and necessary” given the circumstances of Floyd’s death in police custody.
But Biden spoke against the violence and looting that has accompanied the protests.
“Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response,” he said. “But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.”