Minneapolis career criminal George Howard, 48, who was previously jailed then released on bail through Minnesota's Freedom Fund, a group backed by Vice President Kamala Harris, was arrested August 29 on murder charges.
Minnesota's Freedom Fund bailed out Howard on August 6 who was in custody on on a $11,500 bond in connection with domestic assault.
According to the Minneapolis Police Department, George Howard shot a driver during an alleged road rage incident on an Interstate 94 entrance ramp. The victim, identified as Luis Damian Martinez Ortiz, 38, was shot in the chest after surveillance video captured a physical confrontation with the suspect. Ortiz was pronounced dead at the hospital.
On August 29, Howard was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the fatal Interstate shooting.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund sent a series of tweets on Friday expressing fault for the role they played in the fatal shooting; however, the group has since deleted their tweets but screenshots remain through archives.
"We are aware of reports of the tragic and fatal shooting in Minneapolis earlier this week allegedly involving George Howard," they wrote, "an individual the Minnesota Freedom Fund had previously provided with bail support. MFF believes that every individual who has been arrested by the law enforcement 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 access to resources as others."
The group said they were reviewing their policies and procedures.
"Under new leadership, MFF has implemented changes to its policies and procedures, and we will continue to assess them to ensure that we are being responsive to the safety and needs of our community," MFF added.
Vice President Kamala Harris promoted the fund during the height of the George Floyd riots in June of 2020 and encouraged supporters to donate to the groups efforts, although donors don't get to decide where their donations go.
"If you're able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota," VP Harris wrote, linking to the group's donation site on ActBlue, a Democratic PAC.
This isn't the first time that a person who was freed via this fund has faced additional charges. Thomas Moseley, 29, faced charges in February 2020 related to drug possession, weapon possession in a courthouse, and rioting with a weapon, after he was released on bail.
Moseley had been arrested for on charges of property damage and weapon possession, but was let go after the Minnesota Freedom Fund posted $5,000 for his bail.
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