The American Black Lives Matter Foundation, whose name is consistent with the slogan of mass protests in the United States against racism, actually advocates “unity” with the police. But this did not stop the fund from raising about $ 4 million during the protests.
The Black Lives Matter Foundation has been around since 2015. He is not associated with the movement against police brutality, but advocates “unity” with the police. Thousands of Americans transferred funds to it amid protests against racism, as its name was in tune with the slogan of activists: Black Lives Matter.
Those who donated money through Google and Apple thought they donated it to an international fund, but the Black Lives Matter Foundation did not spend a single cent on the fight against racism over the years of its existence.
The Black Lives Matter Foundation has raised at least $ 4.35 million by early June. They managed to freeze most of the funds before they reached the recipient. The donor companies did not know that the fund was not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, and refused to cooperate with it after requests from BuzzFeed News.
The Black Lives Matter Foundation is based in Santa Clarita, California. The organization has only one employee. This is the founder of the foundation, 67-year-old music producer Robert Ray Barnes.
He said he was not connected to the global Black Lives Matter movement.
“I have never met or communicated with them. The goal of our organization is unity with the police. Something needs to be done to smooth the corners between the police and society, ”the foundation’s statement said.
Barnes claims that he himself came up with the slogan Black Lives Matter, and the global movement stole it. He said that the idea to register the fund came to him in May 2015 after speaking out against 2014 police brutality.
How many donations against the backdrop of protests in the United States reached Barnes – he does not tell. For example, in 2017, the fund raised about 300 thousand dollars. Of these, only 89 thousand dollars were spent, of which 24 thousand dollars – the salary of Barnes.
It is worth noting that there is no police department in Santa Clarita. The city is contracting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and its spokesman said he had never heard of Barnes or his organization. The Santa Clarita mayor also did not know that the foundation existed.
Interestingly, Microsoft, Google and Apple encouraged employees to donate to this fund and promised to increase employee contributions by three times.
Where did the fund spend all these years?
The tax returns recorded only one payment from the fund’s account – a grant of $ 5150 for a children’s center in Los Angeles. Barnes stated that he donated money to schools and churches, but was unable to provide evidence.
As for the new money in the fund’s account, Barnes claims that he plans to spend it on organizing receptions for policemen and city dwellers, as well as on distributing positive police brochures.
He also wants to arrange events where citizens can meet with officers to drink coffee and eat donuts.
At the moment, 350 thousand dollars have been frozen through GoFundMe, which could go into the account of the Black Lives Matter Foundation. Another 14 thousand dollars were frozen through the Bonfire website.
Barnes also said he sympathizes with Black Lives Matter supporters who unwittingly sent money to his organization, thinking that they are donating to the global movement. But he says this is a rare occurrence, claiming that people really want to support his organization and its programs.