PROVIDENCE — GoFundMe, the online fund-raising platform, has removed a fund-raiser for a suspended Providence cop and will refund the money raised so far to the donors.
Kelsi Gantt, communications manager for GoFundMe, said in an e-mail Thursday that the fund-raiser for Officer Patrick Hourahan violated the site’s terms of service. GoFundMe did not respond to follow-ups about what terms of service the fund-raiser violated. It had raised at least $20,000 at last check, from donors including a number of Providence police officers.
Hourahan was suspended for 10 days without pay for escalating a situation in South Providence late last month. Police had responded to Sayles Street for a report of loud music and a dispute between families who live there. Police pepper-sprayed a group of people in the ensuing melee. Though police said the use of pepper spray was justified, the city’s leadership determined that Hourahan’s comments afterward — “Who wants some more?” he shouted — were not.
Another officer, Sergeant Gregory Paolo, retired in the wake of comments caught on body camera footage in which he referred to a person as a “she-male.” Officer Wilkens Georges faces summary punishment, which means something less than a two-day suspension, for actions that police determined were “a bit aggressive.”
A GoFundMe for one of the families involved in the Sayles Street incident is still live, and has raised just under $15,000 as of Friday. They are planning to hold a news conference Friday to highlight what they say are racist attacks and abuse in the wake of the incident.
Critics of the police celebrated the takedown of Hourahan’s fund-raiser. The union representing Providence officers, meanwhile, said it was “a shame.”
“Criminals can have GoFundMe pages for their legal costs, but a law enforcement officer who did his job in accordance with his training is a no no,” Michael Imondi, the FOP Lodge No. 3′s president, said in a written statement.