The whereabouts of the officer responsible for the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson are unknown. Darren Wilson left his home in suburban Crestwood, Mo., last week and hasn't been back.
But just because he's gone doesn't mean he doesn't have help back home. Supporters of the officer, who has been on the force for six years, have created a campaign on Gofundme.com, a crowdfunding website, in his name. They have also begun selling T-shirts for $18 on Teespring.com, which allows users to design apparel.
The fundraising campaign was launched Sunday, just over a week after Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, whom Wilson had stopped for jaywalking in the St. Louis suburb.
At the time of this writing, the fundraising campaign had raised $9,745 from 286 donations in just 18 hours, nearing its goal of $10,000. "This page has been created to support Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department," the site reads. "We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives. All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees."
The black T-shirts are emblazoned on the front with a police badge featuring the officer's name, the date of the shooting, and the phrase, "I stand by you." The back reads "We've got your 6," which is slang for "I've got your back" (in this phrase, directions correspond to hours on the clock; 12 o'clock is the front, and six is the back). So far, 435 shirts have been sold. "We appreciate everyone's support and hope that you are able to wear this shirt with pride knowing you are helping an officer both financially and by spreading our support worldwide," the Teespring.com page reads.
The creators of both campaigns also have a Facebook page called "Support Darren Wilson," which has 25,232 likes. (The group's administrators told National Journal they would pass a request for comment along to the founder.) Supporters have collected money in plastic containers and carried signs in the streets in Ferguson and St. Louis, according to the page. At a recent rally in support of Wilson, people lined up along the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River and connects Illinois and Missouri. Barney's Sport, a pub in St. Louis, hosted a gathering for supporters Sunday night, and offered free wings.
This post has been updated.
Play of the Day: Everything Wrong With How The Police Have Handled Ferguson
Don't Miss Today's Top Stories
Rick, Executive Director for Policy
Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."
Chuck, Graduate Student
The day's action in one quick read."
Stacy, Director of Communications
I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."
Richard, VP of Government Affairs
Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "
Michael, Executive Director