Michael Brown shooting: Donations on officer Darren Wilson's gofundme page hit $100,000

Pockets of support have been growing for the officer who fatally shot Brown

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The Independent US

Donations for the police officer who shot and fatally wounded black teenager Michael Brown have reached over $100,000 (£60,000) as support for him continues.

Brown was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on a street in Ferguson. Racial tensions have been heightened in the area since Brown’s death, where the residents are predominately black and the police force, political leadership and public education are largely white.

Witnesses say Brown, 18, was shot with his hands in the air in a position of surrender, while police claim officer Wilson shot him during an altercation. The words 'hands up, don't shoot' have become an enduring symbol during demonstrations.

The gofundme page for Wilson, who is on paid leave, has had to up its original target for a third time to $150,000 dollars after receiving thousands in just four days.

It explains: “This page has been created to support Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department.

A police officer escorts Patty Canter who holds a sign reading, " My Family & Friends Support Officer Wilson and the Police", away from protesters

“We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives. All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees.”

A Facebook group for the officer has also garnered over 45,000 likes. The group behind the page has also organised a rally in downtown St Louis on Saturday.

Their previous rally attracted a crowd of about 100 people and T-shirts with a slogan supporting Wilson emblazoned across them sold out within hours.

On Wednesday, a grand jury began hearing evidence in the case as protesters stepped up their demands that the local criminal probe be turned over to a special prosecutor. The panel could be considering evidence until the middle of October.

The Justice Department is seeking specifically to determine whether federal prosecutors can bring criminal charges against Wilson for violating Brown's civil rights by use of excessive force.

Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, met with Brown’s parents on Wednesday and has promised a "full, fair and independent" investigation into his death.

Video: Clashes continue in Ferguson  

Holder, who is the first African-American to head the Justice Department, also met with community leaders at a community college during his visit to Ferguson.

During his time there, he told a meeting: "I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man ... I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over."

Protests have taken place every night since Brown was shot on 9 August. Police and authorities have been criticised for their heavy-handed response to demonstrations, with has included the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and deploying the National Guard.