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Parents of midshipman suing to block Naval Academy expulsion turn to crowdfunding site

Kevin Standage is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Midshipman First Class Chase Standage First Amendment Defense Fund. (GiveSendGo/Released)

Los Angeles Police Department officers Amy and Kevin Standage have turned to a crowdfunding site to raise legal fees for their son, a midshipman who faces expulsion from the Naval Academy.

A handful of Naval Academy alumni, most of whom attended in the ’70s, have helped the Standages raise money through donations, often accompanied by comments that question the current culture at the academy.

“The Superintendent, Commandant and Deputy Commandant should be relieved for cause along with others that have aided and abetted them,” Kenneth Law, academy class of 1978, wrote on the funding site.

Midshipman 1st Class Chase Standage is suing Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck and Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite in order to prevent them from separating him from the academy.

The fundraising effort, hosted by Give Send Go, a Christian-based fundraising site similar to GoFundMe, has a goal of $50,000. More than 80 contributors have donated $14,510, about 29% of the goal.

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The site hosts fundraisers ranging from helping pets, to funding Eagle Scout projects to raising money for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.

“[Please] help us fund Midn Standage’s legal fight to defend his and other Midshipman[‘]s [constitutional] rights,” Kevin Standage wrote on the fundraising site.

The site paraphrases much of the lawsuit, highlighting Standage’s successes, such as his 3.8 GPA and his accomplishments as a pilot. It also classifies the tweets as responses to other tweets while Standage feared for his parents’ lives during the protests that broke out in Los Angeles following the death of George Floyd by police officers.

“We are trying to raise money solely for the legal defense of our son, United States Naval Academy Midshipman First Class Chase Standage, who is facing separation from the Academy for violation of his First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights while trying to defend law enforcement and the President of the United States,” Kevin Standage wrote.

The Standages, including Chase Standage, did not return requests for comment in time of publication.

Standage faces separation after an academy investigation that found he violated regulations around making political statements on social media and had conduct unbecoming for a midshipman, which falls under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The violations stem from a series of tweets from June, which included saying Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police, received justice when she died and suggested a drone strike would take care of protestors who he believed were antifa, the umbrella term for groups that oppose neo-Nazis and white supremacists, sometimes through militant and violent actions.

Standage hired attorney Jeffrey McFadden of Grasonville, a 1979 Naval Academy graduate who has previously represented midshipmen in conduct cases.

McFadden did not respond to a request for comment.

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