The claim: BreonnaTaylor.com was a donation page for Louisville police officers
At protests across the nation, Breonna Taylor’s name has become a rallying cry alongside those of other Black people who have died in police-related incidents. Taylor’s name has also been used in push back against the movement, most notably with a domain name launched early in the national wave of protests.
“Louisville Police killed Breonna Taylor a few weeks ago and just killed David McAtee yesterday and this is what happens when you go to http://breonnataylor.com. The Louisville Metro Police Foundation bought the domain name,” Martin Weiss tweeted on June 1.
The page urged visitors to “support good police,” along with, “Angry is not a justification for violence and destruction. Please do not make it worse.”
A screenshot of the tweet was also posted to Facebook, where it was shared over 2,700 times.
The page displayed the quoted language for several days after the site gained widespread scrutiny. The Louisville Metro Police Foundation denied being affiliated with the page, and shut down its linked donations page in response.
After reporting from the Louisville Courier Journal on the incident, the page briefly came down and featured an error message, before being claimed by the family of Breonna Taylor. The URL now links to the family’s GoFundMe page.
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A brief history of BreonnaTaylor.com
The homepage of BreonnaTaylor.com featured language urging visitors to “support good police” since at least May 16, according to attorney Lonita Baker, who is representing the Taylor family.
“It is a slap in the face whether they were part of putting this site together or not, they have not tried to take it down,” Baker told The Courier Journal.
It is unknown who bought the domain and set up the original website. The first record of the site’s ownership dates to May 14. The URL was then registered with Privacy Guardian, a cybersecurity group that prevents datamining and anonymizes client activity online. The organization is owned by software company Iolo Technologies.
After reporting from the Courier Journal on June 1, the site gained widespread scrutiny. The Louisville Metro Police Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for LMPD officers, issued a statement condemning the site.
“We would NEVER do something so inappropriate and are doing our best to track down who put our link on this page,” Tracie Texas Shifflett, the group’s director, told the Courier Journal. “We are saddened and disheartened that someone would do this, especially during this time when we need unity and not division.”
“We have received several calls and emails about the domain name of http://BreonnaTaylor.com and are as horrified as everyone else that our charity has been linked here,” the organization also tweeted. “We did not and would NEVER show this disrespect.”
Domain search engines have since recorded three changes to the URL’s ownership, all also anonymized and protected from unauthorized updates and fraud.
After a brief period from June 1-3 where the page only featured an error message, the URL began redirecting visitors to the GoFundMe for Breonna Taylor’s family, according to digital archives.
The page now redirects to the Justice for Breonna Taylor GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $6.1 million.
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Our ruling: True
We rate this claim TRUE because it is supported by our research. The URL BreonnaTaylor.com was briefly a website supporting Louisville police officers. Once the site was highlighted by the Courier Journal, the page was taken down and now redirects to a GoFundMe for the family of Breonna Taylor and social justice causes.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: BreonnaTaylor.com was once police donation site