A bail fund promoted by Vice President Kamala Harris letting free an alleged domestic abuser weeks before authorities arrested him and charged him with murder, the group announced Friday.
George Howard, 48, was bailed out by the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) on August 6 after being held on $11,500 on charges of domestic abuse.
Weeks later, Howard was charged with murder when he shot another driver on I-94 during a road rage incident on August 29.
According to the KSTP report:
A 38-year-old man has been identified as the shooting victim in an incident that took place on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis on Sunday and a 47-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the incident.
According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, 38-year-old Luis Damian Martinez Ortiz, from Minneapolis, died from a gunshot wound to the chest in the deadly incident that took place on Sunday near the exit of Dowling Avenue North.
Charges have been filed against a 47-year-old Minneapolis man in connection with the incident. According to a criminal complaint, George Howard has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
The Minnesota Bail Fund on Friday admitted it helped release Howard on bond.
By Tuesday, they had deleted the tweet thread but the internet is forever:
“We are aware of reports of the tragic and fatal shooting in Minneapolis earlier this week allegedly involving George Howard, an individual the Minnesota Freedom Fund had previously provided with bail support,” the group wrote. “MFF believes that every individual who has been arrested by the law enforcement is innocent until proven guilty, and if a judge deems them eligible for bail, they should not have to wait in jail simply because they don’t have the same income or access to resources as others.”
Harris, who had dropped out of the presidential race but had yet to be selected as President Joe Biden’s running mate at the time, tweeted in support of the bail fund in June 2020.
“If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” Harris wrote last summer. Several celebrities also highlighted donations to the MFF around the same time, including Seth Rogen, Don Cheadle, and Patton Oswalt.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 1, 2020
But the group doesn’t just bail out protesters, Novotny said. Its beneficiaries include alleged sex offenders and killers, and more recently, George Howard, a 48-year-old domestic assault suspect who now faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Luis Damian Martinez Ortiz, 38.
“If you get arrested and your mom and dad have to put up their savings to get you out of jail, you have an incentive, hopefully, that you’re gonna show up to court and not get your bail revoked,” Novotny said. “If you don’t want your parents to lose their money.”