It’s a tale of two GoFundMes.
Two Black men who were each killed in recent brutal slayings for which there has been no accountability are receiving different monetary responses to their deaths as both of their families grieve, demand justice and seek financial assistance for mounting posthumous costs.
Online donations via GoFundMe to the family of Christian Toby Obumseli have soared since his girlfriend — a white woman named Courtney Clenney who models on Instagram under the moniker Courtney Tailor — stabbed him to death on April 3 in Florida, where she remains a free woman and has not been arrested for the grisly act that her lawyer claims was committed in self-defense.
That was a far cry from the GoFundMe that was set up following the police shooting of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which happened one day after Obuseli was killed. A family spokesperson who claims to have seen the dashcam footage from the April 4 shooting said an officer shot Lyoya in the head following a “lengthy struggle” stemming from a traffic stop over an unregistered license plate.
Lyoya’s family has since retained the legal services of civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
Similar to Obumseli’s killer, the officer who took Lyoya’s life has avoided arrest and charges for his deadly actions.
Despite the quick succession of high-profile killings of Black men going immediately unpunished, there has been an uneven financial response to their deaths.
As of Monday morning, the GoFundMe for Obumseli’s family had raised more than $73,000 of their $100,000 goal.
“We humbly ask our community to come together and support us during this time,” Obumseli’s GoFundMe says in part. “We need financial assistance to cover postmortem transportation of the body, funeral arrangements, attorney fees, litigation, counseling, and bills for the family as we seek justice for our beloved brother and son. No amount is too small.”
However, the GoFundMe for Lyoya was only at slightly more than $11,000 of the $30,000 it was asking for.
“Patrick was a father of 2 daughters and a big brother to 5 siblings,” Lyoya’s GoFundMe says. “Patrick loved playing soccer and spending time with his loved ones but now he can’t do that anymore. Help us raise money for his funeral. Anything helps!”
It was not immediately clear why Obumseli’s GoFundMe was receiving an outsized amount of donations despite similar pleas for help.
There are clear differences between Obumseli’s and Lyoya’s killings and both have elicited varying responses from the Black community.
That was especially true for Obumseli, whose history of shaming Black women on social media rivals comments from his girlfriend, who said publicly before she stabbed her boyfriend to death that she only dates “rich Black men.”
Still, despite the apparent expressions of self-hatred from Obumseli and Black fetishization from Clenney, online donations were pouring in compared to Lyola, who fell victim to the same kind of pretextual traffic stop that has resulted in numerous “driving while Black” deaths.
Whether one brutal killing is more sympathetic than the other is open to interpretation.
Clenney claims she was trying to defend herself, but a similar claim from the officer who killed Lyoya could be seen as far-fetched since there were no reports the shooting victim was armed or otherwise threatening any officers’ lives.
The decisions for how to proceed following these two preventable, brutal killings are now left up to the U.S. justice system, which has historically not had Black people’s best interest at heart.
This is America.