A Utah paramedic who donated $10 to a legal defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen who shot three Wisconsin rioters, allegedly in self-defense, has been outed as some kind of villain by Salt Lake City’s ABC TV affiliate.
ABC4 reporter Jason Nguyen came up with his “scoop” after the Guardian newspaper included the name of West Valley City, Utah, paramedic Craig Shepherd in a Friday article about police officers and other government employees who made donations to fund-raisers for “accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans.”
The Guardian dug the names out of a data breach from a Christian crowdfunding website that was used to raise funds for Rittenhouse, among other controversial defendants. Nguyen took the hacked materials a step further, essentially doxing the paramedic. His report even included a video of the reporter standing at the front door of Shepherd’s house, with plenty of identifying details for those who might want to find the residence.
Nguyen called Shepherd’s employer and found that the city is investigating the matter, though it’s not clear what misconduct there might be to probe. The city issued a statement saying that it’s investigating but noting that “such a donation would be representative of personal actions and not those of West Valley City.”
The reporter noted that Shepherd used his work email address in making the donation. He ended his report by saying the paramedic won’t be placed on administrative leave during the investigation, implying that he had done something illegal or heinous.
Nguyen posted the story on his Twitter account on Saturday, saying Shepherd had been “caught” donating $10 to Rittenhouse’s defense fund using his government email address. The tweet was ratioed, with many commenters pointing out that Shepherd hadn’t done anything illegal or otherwise meriting scrutiny.
“A data breach at a crowdfunding website” is a fancy way if saying @abc4utah is using hacked and unverifiable material to target a private citizen for doing something perfectly legal. This really is bad form from a great station that does important work.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) April 18, 2021
“A ‘data breach at a crowdfunding website’ is a fancy way of saying ABC4 is using hacked and unverifiable material to target a private citizen for doing something perfectly legal,” former US Senate staffer Matt Whitlock tweeted. Australian conservative commentator Rita Panahi quipped, “Have you considered a career in coding or renewables?”
Have you considered a career in coding or renewables?
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) April 19, 2021
Rittenhouse, then 17, was charged with murder after shooting and killing two men and wounding a third at a Black Lives Matter riot last August in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Supporters argue that he was being attacked and acted in self-defense, citing video footage of the incident. Democrat politicians, including President Joe Biden, have smeared him, without evidence, as a white supremacist.
More than $1 million has been raised for Rittenhouse’s legal defense, including $585,000 on the Christian crowdfunding site givesendgo.com.
A number of federal government employees, including Vice President Kamala Harris, and celebrities have openly tried to help raise money for the legal defense of protesters arrested for riot-related offenses, such as arson. The bail fund promoted by Harris has reportedly helped free defendants charged with murder, rape and other violent felonies.
For example, the fund paid $75,000 to bail out Jaleel Stallings, who allegedly shot at members of a SWAT team during a riot last May in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd during a botched police arrest. It paid $100,000 to bail out Darnika Floyd, who was charged with murder for allegedly stabbing a friend to death. There is no federal investigation of the vice president’s involvement with the bail fund; nor is she on administrative leave.
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