DCNF EXCLUSIVE: Bail fund promoted by Kamala Harris helped free serial domestic abusers
Andrew Kerr and Kyle Hooten on September 22, 2020
- The Minnesota Freedom Fund helped bail out of jail six men accused of domestic violence between June and August, court documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.
- Two of the men allegedly strangled women in their own homes, and all but one had been previously convicted of domestic violence, court records show.
- Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris promoted the fund in June. She provided a fundraising link that was accepting donations as of Tuesday.
- The DCNF previously revealed that the Minnesota Freedom Fund had bailed out a man accused of sexually penetrating a child.
A bail fund promoted by Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris helped bail out of jail six men accused of domestic violence between June and August, court documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.
Two of the men face felony charges for allegedly strangling women in their own homes, and another stands accused of beating his girlfriend upwards of six times with a closed fist, records show. All but one of the individuals had been convicted of prior domestic violence-related charges when the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) helped bail them out of jail, according to court records.
Harris, a California senator, encouraged her supporters to donate to the MFF in June. The fundraising link she posted to Twitter sports her branding and was still accepting donations as of Tuesday.
Harris told her followers that contributions to the fund would “help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota” against the police-custody death of George Floyd.
However, the MFF revealed on Sept. 4 that only about six percent of the money it had spent since Floyd’s death had gone to help bail out of jail people facing protest-related charges.
The DCNF previously reported that in the months since Harris promoted the MFF, the fund has helped post bail for people accused of violent crimes, including Timothy Wayne Columbus, who faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, according to court records.
Donovan Dexter Boone
Donavan Dexter Boone, 31, was arrested May 2 after he allegedly broke into his son’s mother’s apartment and proceeded to strangle her in front of her minor children, according to a statement of probable cause.
The alleged victim told authorities she took shelter in her bathroom after Boone forced entry into her apartment, according to the statement. He then “forced his way into the bathroom” and “grabbed her by the throat,” per the statement.
“[The victim] said it was hard for her to breath and she felt dizzy… [she] thought she was going to die,” per the statement. Bone allegedly had to be pulled off his victim by his brother and the victim’s cousin, according to the statement.
Boone has previously been convicted of felony domestic assault by strangulation and issuing felony terroristic threats, according to court records.
One week after his arrest, Boone signed a form indicating that the money posted to afford his bail should be returned to the MFF, indicating that they paid for his release.
Dalvin Devonte Gates
Davlin Devonte Gates, 28, was arrested May 13 after he allegedly strangled a woman just days after she allowed him to move in with her, according to a statement of probable cause.
Gates and his alleged victim “got into an argument when Defendant [Gates] placed his hands around Victim’s throat and squeezed until Victim lost consciousness. When Victim regained consciousness Defendant… blamed Victim for his actions,” the probable cause statement shows.
Minnesota prosecutors noted in the charging document that Gates had exhibited a pattern of “escalating violent conduct toward romantic partners and household members.” He has four prior domestic violence-related convictions, two of which were felonies, according to the charging document.
Gates filed a request to receive bail from the MFF and was subsequently released from the Hennepin County Jail on July 20, according to the jail roster. Gates confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation in a phone call Tuesday that the fund paid his bail.
Marcus Marshun Butler
Marcus Marshun Butler, 40, was arrested after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend on Aug. 13, according to a statement of probable cause.
Butler struck the victim “five or six times with a closed fist,” according to the statement, which also indicates that police saw a small cut on her face. The statement also adds that Butler petitioned to plead guilty for this crime.
He also has a lengthy rap sheet, which includes domestic assault, that is accessible via the Hennepin County Court system.
Following his arrest, Butler signed a form indicating that the money posted for his bail should be returned to the MFF, indicating that the group paid for his release.
Matthew Owens Earl Thompson
Matthew Owens Earl Thompson, 29, was arrested after he “pushed his way” into a domestic partner’s house while “smoking a blunt” and smelling like alcohol,” according to a statement of probable cause.
Officers found him throwing rocks at his victim’s windows, the statement shows. The victim told authorities that Thompson “is not supposed to have contact with her and that she was not sure how Defendant [Thompson] figured out where she lived,” according to the statement.
This is not the first time Thompson has stood accused of domestic crimes. He has previously been convicted of domestic violence and violating a no contact order, his criminal record and the statement of probable cause show.
Following his arrest, Thompson signed a form indicating that the money posted for his bail should be returned to the MFF.
Tyrone Thomas Shields
Tyrone Thomas Shields, 53, was arrested after he allegedly left a “larger than golf sized bump” on the head of his wife of 19 years, according to a statement of probable cause. “I’m gonna keep beating your ass every time I see you,” he also told her, according to the statement.
Shields allegedly attacked his wife as she attempted to leave their house to buy cigarettes, the statement shows. He got into the back seat of the car she was driving and proceed to strike her from behind, according to the statement.
He has been twice convicted of crimes of domestic violence in the last decade, the statement notes.
Following his arrest, Shields signed a form indicating that the money posted for his bail should be returned to the MFF.
Reece Omaur Bonneville
Reece Omaur Bonneville, 29, was arrested on Aug. 11 after he allegedly assaulted his domestic partner and the two officers who came to apprehend him, leaving one with a black eye and another with a cut on his tricep, according to a statement of probable cause.
The statement also notes that Bonneville’s victim was “holding their child while the assault was occurring.”
He was later convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault in connection with this incident, but not before he was bailed out by the MFF, as indicated by a form he signed requesting that bail money posted on his behalf be sent back to the fund.
Record of his conviction is accessible via the Hennepin County Court system.
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