Anne Arundel County Police Union Donates to Darren Wilson's Online Defense Fund

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A police officer escorts Patty Canter, who holds a sign reading, "My Family & Friends Support Officer Wilson and the Police," away from protesters looking for justice for the Michael Brown family, including the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    A police union in Maryland has donated more than $1,000 to an online fund collecting money for the Ferguson, Missouri offier who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown earlier this month.

    Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, a union that represents Anne Arundel County police officers, donated $1,070 to the gofundme.com page for Officer Darren Wilson's legal defense, the Baltimore Sun first reported.

    The person who created the donation page wrote, "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. "

    As of Friday morning, the Anne Arundel County police union's contribution was the third-highest recorded for the fund.

    "MD FOP Lodge 70 supports our brothers and sisters in Missouri. Please support them and your local law enforcement officers!" a message from the union reads.

    Anne Arundel County police officer O'Brien Atkinson, president of the lodge, told the Baltimore Sun that members had wanted to send money to help feed Ferguson officers who were working long shifts during the protests that have occurred since Brown was killed, but that the national Fraternal Order of Police suggested donating to Wilson's defense fund instead.

    "It's not about anything more than making sure that our fellow officer has due process, which sometimes is hard to come by when you have a media stir and a lot of political attention," Atkinson told the Sun.

    But the chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department said he disagrees with the donation.

    Chief Kevin Davis released a statement Friday afternoon that read in part, "I certainly embrace the necessity for due process... and, as a life member of the FOP, I know the importance of the FOP in our profession. However, there are occasions when a police chief will agree to disagree with the FOP president. This is one of those of those moments."

    Davis said he attended an NAACP rally Thursday night in Anne Arundel County about the situation.

    "Policing in the 21st century requires strong relationships with all of our residents and the Anne Arundel County Police Department is committed to growing those relationships," Davis wrote.

    Brown, who was unarmed, was fatally shot Aug. 9. The case was sent to a grand jury this week to determine whether Wilson will be charged, and if so, what charges he would face.

    Susan McGraugh, supervisor of the Criminal Defense Clinic at St. Louis University Law School, told NBC station KSDK of St. Louis that determining any charges could take weeks. She said the timetable "depends on how long it takes for tests to came back and for witnesses to be interviewed."

    Donations to Wilson's online defense fund totaled more than $235,000 by Friday afternoon.

    Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70 posted the Sun's story about its donation on its Facebook page Thursday night without further comment.

    One reader posted in reply, "This is great step, the fop on the state and national level needs to do more of this."

    Another wrote, "For shame."

    A phone call by NBC Washington to the union Friday morning was not returned by the afternoon.