A woman in her twenties has been arrested and questioned under caution as part of an investigation into allegations that more than £32,000 raised for a youth charity via a crowdfunding page has been stolen, police have confirmed.
The crowdfunder was set up by a local Black Lives Matter group ahead of a demonstration in Bristol in June last year.
Supporters were told the money raised would be donated to Changing Your Mindset, a youth organisation based in St Pauls, Bristol.
The BLM march in the city followed the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in the US city of Minneapolis in May 2020.
During the protest in Bristol the following month, the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down by demonstrators and dumped in the city’s harbour.
The statue’s toppling generated worldwide publicity and the crowdfunder subsequently raised about £32,334.
But Changing Your Mindset subsequently reported that it had not received any of the donations from the crowdfunder, which the charity had earmarked to take 15 young people on an educational trip to West Africa.
Changing Your Mindset confirmed that an allegation was made to Avon and Somerset Police in relation to the non-receipt of funds raised from the GoFundMe BrisBLM For Changing Your Mindset appeal in May this year.
The youth organisation added: “The staff at Changing Your Mindset have been working on a voluntary basis, on a greatly reduced budget, to be able to provide our youth services.
“The missing monies have not only resulted in jeopardising an educational visit to Africa but mean that we have struggled to cover the group’s running costs, such as mentors’ fees and insurance, as we had planned a whole annual cycle with the donated funds.”
Following the demonstration, the Bristol Black Lives Matter group changed its name to All Black Lives Bristol, and affiliated itself to a national All Black Lives UK organisation.
All Black Lives UK described what had happened as a “sensitive” case involving mental health issues.
It added: “The situation is sad and upsetting, but we hope the community can come together to support one another.
“We will not be adding anything further given the personal nature of the matter.”
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: “Enquiries are continuing following an allegation of theft.
“A female in her 20s was arrested on 12 July and was subsequently released under investigation.”