Bail funds become new method of supporting George Floyd protesters

Protester and police during George Floyd protest in New York City.

Protester and police during George Floyd protest in New York City. Jennifer M. Mason / Shutterstock

Donations to bail funds are surging as people supporting recent protests against the killing of George Floyd and police brutality aim to keep arrested demonstrators out of jail. 

Protests and riots have erupted all across the country in response to the death of Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes. The New York Police Department made nearly 350 arrests in connection to protests by early Sunday, landing many protesters in jail, where the coronavirus spreads rapidly and may put them and other detainees at greater risk. 

Supporters have been contributing heavily to bail funds throughout the United States but especially in New York to get protesters out of jail – and some prominent ones are already declining further financial support because of the overwhelming number of donations. The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, the largest bail fund in the country, has asked potential donors to redirect their funds to other local efforts as of Saturday. An initiative created amid the COVID-19 pandemic to keep people out of jail and prison, Free Them All For Public Health, has received $100,000 in recent days and has also stopped accepting funds to focus on posting bail for demonstrators.

Mutual aid groups, which have become increasingly prominent ways people have offered services and help to neighbors during the health crisis, have also emerged as resources helpful for organizers.