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New online fundraising campaign starts up for officers charged in Gray's death

Officers charged in the Freddie Gray case: top row, from left, Caeser R. Goodson Jr., Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer Garrett E. Miller.; bottom, from left, Lt. Brian W. Rice, Officer William G. Porter, Officer Edward M. Nero.
Officers charged in the Freddie Gray case: top row, from left, Caeser R. Goodson Jr., Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer Garrett E. Miller.; bottom, from left, Lt. Brian W. Rice, Officer William G. Porter, Officer Edward M. Nero. (Baltimore Police / Baltimore Sun)

Another fundraising website has launched to raise money for legal expenses of the six Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

The effort on OfficerDown.US comes after the Baltimore police union had set up a GoFundMe.com fundraising site on Friday with the same purpose before the online campaign was shut down by the host company. GoFundMe officials said web pages cannot benefit people charged with "serious violations of the law."

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OfficerDown.US is a similar fundraising website but it's devoted specifically to raising money for law enforcement officers or people associated with law enforcement, including family members.

The latest fundraising campaign is called the "Officer Distress Fund" and it says it has the Baltimore police union's backing and permission.

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A call and email to the union, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, was not immediately returned on Wednesday to confirm its support.

"All monies collected will be used to assist our officers with their living expenses during their unpaid suspension, as well as to help defray their legal expenses," said the page. "We thank you, in advance, for your continued support."

As of noon Wednesday, the site had raised $340 toward its goal of $600,000. The web page said it will be up for 80 days.

Police union president Gene Ryan has said the charges against the officers were "an apparent rush to judgment." The officers face various charges including manslaughter and misconduct in office. One officer — the police van transport driver who carried Gray after his April 12 arrest — has been charged with second-degree murder.

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