An Indiana mom is raising awareness after her son was killed in October, allegedly by a man who was out on bond with the help of an organization called The Bail Project.
Dylan McGinnis, 24. was allegedly shot and killed on Oct. 1 by Travis Lang, who was previously being held in jail for possession of cocaine in addition to three other felony charges, including breaking and entering, resisting arrest and burglary, according to Fox 59.
Lang is now being charged with murder.
The initial charges were filed in December 2020, and Lang posted $5,650 in bail funds in January 2021, according to court documents. The Bail Project assisted with paying a portion of the bail.
McGinnis’ mother, Nikki Sterling, told Fox News Digital that she was shocked after finding out Lang was bailed out of jail by The Bail Project.
“When I first learned about (The Bail Project), I needed to learn more about what their mission was, I didn’t know what they were doing. But then when I found this out, honestly, I was shocked,” Sterling said.
Sterling said she felt a desire to raise awareness of what this organization does so other families don’t have to go through the pain of losing a child in the way she did.
“And then it became a mission for me to spread the awareness that there is an organization nationwide that is supporting violent offenders to get out and helping them get out of jail by bailing them out,” Sterling said. “But you know, if I can help prevent this from happening to any other family, then I would say that, you know, my life has been purposeful and also carrying out the legacy of my son, who was always so helpful to other people.”
Sterling said McGinnis was helping a friend get back on her feet when he was killed. The local news outlet reported that McGinnis was in the car with a woman who was doing a drug deal with Lang when he was shot and killed.
“Just knowing Dylan and the kind of person that he was, in my opinion, he most likely just did not want her to go by herself or be alone. He probably feared for her,” Sterling said.
Sterling said Dylan is being remembered most for how much he helped others out when they were in tough situations.
“He was a great young man,” Sterling said. “He loved spending time with his family and friends the most. And also helping others. I think when we take a step back and we look at everything that he’s done and everything that we found out. You know, even at his funeral visitation, the stories that we continue to hear from friends and relatives was just how much he helped other people out of different situations, whether it be mental abuse or physical abuse from family.”
A spokesperson for The Bail Project told Fox News that “the Bail Project provided bail assistance for Mr. Lang last January for part of the bail he needed for his release.”
“At the time we interviewed Mr. Lang, his grandmother and fiancé had already secured part of his bail through a bail bonds agent, but they could not afford the rest. We provided assistance so they could bring him home while he waited for the court to decide his case. We denounce violence in all its forms, and it is never our intention to put anyone at harm,” David Gaspar, the director of operations for The Bail Project, said.
The organization’s website states that it combats “mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system—one person at a time.”
“We restore the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that criminalizes race and poverty. We’re on a mission to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” the website states.
McGinnis is hardly the first victim of alleged charitable bail fund misuse.
In August, George Howard, 48, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder after being bailed out of jail weeks earlier by the Minnesota Freedom Fund when he was charged in connection with a domestic assault case. Vice President Kamala Harris supported the Minnesota Freedom Fund while on the campaign trail in 2020.
Joe Gamaldi, national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police and an active-duty sergeant in the Houston Police Department, told Fox News Digital that while there is a role for charitable bail funds to play in society, The Bail Project isn’t helping communities.
“They are allowing people to donate and then they’re bonding out violent criminals who are repeat offenders. I mean, this is not the shoplifting a candy bar from Wal-Mart. These are people who are committing murders, aggravated assault,” Gamaldi said.
Further, Gamaldi alleged that organizations like The Bail Project only support a “radical system” where cash bail does not exist and also alleges that they don’t care about public safety.
“You know, I’ll be honest, I don’t think they give a damn about public safety,” Gamaldi said. “They know exactly the people that they are bailing out. They know that these individuals that are out on already multiple felony bonds and they’re helping them get another one. They know that some of these are very violent individuals, and you cannot look at this with a straight face and tell me that you care about the community that you’re operating in.”
Gamaldi said recent legislation in Indiana could solve some issues with charitable bail funds, such as requiring them to report to the Department of Insurance and eliminate charity bail funds for families.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.