Kamala Harris Promoted Fund That Helped Bail Out Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Child

September 17, 2020 Updated: September 24, 2020

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris promoted a bail fund that helped a man accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old child get out of jail, court documents show.

According to court documents (pdf), 36-year-old Timothy Wayne Columbus was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for having allegedly sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl in her mother’s home in 2015.

Jail records showed he was arrested in June and later released from a Minneapolis jail on $75,000 bail in early July, and subsequently filed a document asking the court to have his refunded bail money returned to the Minneapolis Freedom Fund (MFF), which showed that the fund contributed to his release.

The man was a registered predatory offender for a separate incident prior to his arrest.

The documents were first obtained by Alpha News in collaboration with the Daily Caller News Foundation, and later Fox News.

Harris asked her followers to contribute to the MFF amid violent protests and riots earlier this year. She posted a Twitter post on June 1, saying, “If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota.”

In the post, Harris provided a link in the post to the fundraising page which contains her picture. The page continues to accept donations as of the time of this article’s publication.

Harris’s Senate office and the Biden-Harris campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Reuters reported that at least 13 other employees in Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign have also contributed to the MFF. Biden campaign staffers have also been promoting the MFF via social media, Fox News noted.

The MFF raised about $35 million following the death of George Floyd in late May, reported Fox 9. According to the MFF’s website, the group has spent under 10 percent of that money, or $3,475,000, to bail people out of jail, with $210,000 of that used for bailing out those who were arrested amid protests since late May.

The MFF has helped secure bail for other alleged violent criminals, according to reports. For example, it helped post bail for a man accused of assaulting a 71-year-old woman as he burglarized her home, according to records obtained by the Daily Caller (pdf).

Richard Raynell Kelley, 53, then violated his bail just a week after his release, and there is now an active felony warrant out for his arrest, according to the outlet.

Fox 9 reported that the MFF paid cash bail for accused murderer Darnika Floyd—charged with second-degree murder after allegedly stabbing a friend to death—and twice-convicted rapist Christopher Boswell, who faces charges of sexual assault and kidnapping. The MFF had put up $100,000 on behalf of Floyd and $350,000 on behalf of Boswell.

In late July, the MFF helped to bail out Lionel Timms, a man who faces a third-degree felony assault charge for having allegedly assaulted a person on a bus on July 11.

He was then arrested again while out on bail and charged with one felony count of third-degree assault, for allegedly assaulting a bar manager who, from the alleged attack, suffered a traumatic brain injury, Alpha News reported.

MFF Interim Executive Director Greg Lewin said in a statement in late August that Timms’s arrest, while out on bail, was because the “criminal justice system failed.”

In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times on Sept. 23, the MFF said that it “believes that every individual who has been arrested by the police is innocent until proven guilty, and if a judge deems them eligible for bail, they should not have to wait in jail simply because they don’t have the same income or resources as others with more privilege.”

It alleges, “Pre-trial jailing uses captivity, deprivation, and the threat of lost jobs, housing, and child custody to pressure plea bargains in a way that undercuts their due process rights and harms communities.”

The MFF also told The Epoch Times, “we do not make determinations of bail support based on the crimes that individuals are alleged to have committed. We are, however, taking steps to strengthen our internal procedures for ensuring that those we bail out receive support, especially if they are in need of housing or medical treatment.”

“Practicing the right to free assembly is not a criminal act, and charges are not the same as convictions,” the bail fund added.

It contends, “We believe holding someone not convicted of a crime in jail during a pandemic represents an extreme measure, and that cash bail, which favors those who are white and wealthy, is not an appropriate tool to implement it.”

This article has been updated to include a statement from the Minneapolis Freedom Fund (MFF).

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