The mother of a felon whose "handsome" booking photo went viral after it was posted on the Stockton Police Department's Facebook account is hoping to show a softer side of her son as she tries to raise funds for his legal defense.
Katherine Angier created a fundraising page in an effort to dispel certain stereotypes about her son, Jeremy Meeks, according to her post on the website.
"He's my son and he is so sweet," she said. "Please help him to get a fair trial or else he'll be railroaded."
Angier is hoping to collect up to $25,000 with the "Free Jeremy" page. In the first 14 hours, benefactors had donated $633.
"He has a job and he was on his way to work," she said on the website of his arrest. "With no gang affiliations, as per two of the charges -- he has old tattoos, which causes him to be stereotyped."
Meeks, 30, drew worldwide media attention Thursday after his booking photo was posted on the Stockton Police Department's Facebook page in connection with a law enforcement operation.
Not long after his photo went up on the site, someone created a fan page on Facebook for Meeks, which has received more than 39,500 likes.
The Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page soon went viral, garnering nearly 50,000 “likes,” 14,700 comments and more than 5,400 shares by Friday morning.
Meeks, who is married, was one of four men arrested Wednesday in a multi-agency raid that included help from the FBI, U.S. marshal’s office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a countywide gang task force. He told KXTV that authorities found a gun in his trunk.
He reportedly faced illegal gun possession and gang-related charges.
KXTV’s Nick Monacelli told Meeks about his newfound popularity while he was still in jail. Video of the interview shows Meeks behind glass, talking to the reporter by phone.
Meeks said that while he appreciates the attention, he also wanted to get his side of the story out to the public.
He told the news station that he spent years in prison for grand theft and that the teardrop on his cheekbone was for “doing some things in his past he is not proud of."
“I just want them to know that this is really not like me, I’m not some kingpin,” he said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times