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GoFundMe Removed Fundraiser for Officer Jason Van Dyke, Refunded Donors

By  Lizzie Schiffman Tufano and Mark Konkol | November 24, 2015 10:11am | Updated on November 24, 2015 2:40pm

 Officer Jason Van Dyke (l.) arrives to court Tuesday with his lawyer. He was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Officer Jason Van Dyke (l.) arrives to court Tuesday with his lawyer. He was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
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Fox Chicago

CHICAGO — Late Monday, the wife of a Chicago Police Officer who was charged with murder Tuesday in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald apparently posted a GoFundMe page raising money online for her husband's bond.

Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, the GoFundMe page titled "JVD Bond Fund" was removed from the site after it had generated more than $10,000 in donations.

Kelsea Little, a spokeswoman for GoFundMe, said it was the fundraiser site's decision to remove the JVD Bond Fund campaign.

"The campaign in question was removed for a violation of our terms and conditions," Little told DNAinfo.com Chicago. "GoFundMe does not accept campaigns for the defense or support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity. All donations will be automatically refunded to the donors."

The fundraiser's creator, a woman named Tiffany, had written on the fundraiser page about her husband, "a Chicago police officer for almost 15 years ... [who] was in a shooting that has been covered extensively by the media."

Public records show Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke's wife is named Tiffany Van Dyke.

Officer Van Dyke is never referenced directly by name, but details recounted in the post closely paralleled the case of the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, for which Van Dyke is set to appear in bond court Tuesday afternoon.

"My husband is having a bond hearing and if we do not raise the money he will be detained on 11/24/15," the GoFundMe post continued. "With the holidays approaching our husband and father needs to be home with his family."

Before the page was removeed, the fundraiser had collected over $10,000 from fewer than 200 donors. The fundraising goal was set at $80,000.

It's unclear if the page was removed by its creator or by GoFundMe. On Nov. 18, the fundraising website updated its terms and conditions to tighten its control over what causes can and cannot benefit from its crowd-funding support services.

A GoFundMe representative confirmed in an email that the team was responding to reports that the "JVD Bond Fund" campaign had been flagged by other users and said the community management team would "take appropriate action."

After a similar fundraising effort for six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray was shut down by the GoFundMe, a spokeswoman issued the following statement, according to the Los Angeles Times:

"GoFundMe cannot be used to benefit those who are charged with serious violations of the law. The campaign clearly stated that the money raised would be used to assist the officers with their legal fees, which is a direct violation of GoFundMe's terms."

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