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GoFundMe pulls crowdfunding page for Baltimore police officers in Freddie Gray case

The Baltimore police union launches an effort to raise money for legal fees, but the fund-raising site says no go. It's the latest campaign involving alleged police misconduct that's been shuttered.

An encounter between a protestor and police in Baltimore. A campaign to raise money for the officers charged in Freddie Gray's death was taken down by GoFundMe.
An encounter between a protestor and police in Baltimore. A campaign to raise money for the officers charged in Freddie Gray's death was taken down by GoFundMe. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The crowdfunding website GoFundMe has pulled a campaign that sought financial support for the six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the campaign, created by the Baltimore police union on Friday, was removed for violating GoFundMe's terms. Those terms bar campaigns "in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes."

The six officers have been charged with various crimes, including murder and manslaughter, in the death of Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident who died from injuries sustained while in police custody and whose death sparked rioting in the city. The campaign intended to raise funds for the officers' legal defense.

The closure mirrors the recent shuttering of two crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo. One had sought support for an Oklahoma law enforcement officer charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a suspect. The other solicited funds for the South Carolina officer charged with murder for shooting a fleeing suspect in the back.

Crowdfunding sites are typically places where people seek public donations for projects ranging from paying medical bills to helping the homeless to starting up businesses to manufacturing a product. Some campaigns even invite donors to contribute in exchange for one of the finished products. Now those same sites -- whose reputations were built on helping musicians, artists and other people behind good causes raise money -- are becoming new portals to fund people involved in controversial, emotionally charged issues. That's caused some observers to opine that crowdfunding sites may be becoming too political.

Since the shuttering of the GoFundMe campaign, the Baltimore police union has established a Distress Fund to solicit donations directly.

CNET's Terry Collins contributed to this report.