BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The chair of the Minnesota Freedom Fund board was arrested late last month for fentanyl possession.
“She was booked and released from our jail pending out of custody charges,” said Deputy Chief Kimberly Clauson.
Police submitted a request for charges Sept. 1 to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance-fentanyl and misdemeanor charges of possessing an open package of marijuana in a motor vehicle, Clauson said.
No charges had been filed yet as of Wednesday morning and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
“The Minnesota Freedom Fund can confirm that MFF board chair Valentina McKenzie was arrested on Thursday, August 31st, in Bloomington. No charges have been filed. Out of respect for the legal process, we will have no further comment at this time,” Minnesota Freedom Fund communications director Noble Frank said in a statement.
The nonprofit bail fund was founded in 2016 but gained notoriety during the protests and riots that followed the death of George Floyd when the group promised to bail out any protesters arrested. The fund took in tens of millions of dollars when it was promoted online by numerous celebrities, including Vice President Kamala Harris.
In February, the organization announced the formation of MFF Action, a sister organization that will lobby state lawmakers to end cash bail in Minnesota.
“The cash bail system criminalizes poverty, forcing legally innocent people with less wealth to remain incarcerated while wealthier people accused of the same crime go free. We work to extend the same constitutional right to cash bail to everyone, regardless of their wealth,” MFF has said in response to past criticism.
In her MFF bio, McKenzie states that she is “committed to abolishing prison one step at a time starting with ending the cash bail system.”
This article originally appeared at Alpha News and was reprinted with permission.