Following the news that North Charleston police officer Michael Slager had been arrested and charged with murder for shooting Walter Scott, an anonymous sympathizer has set up a crowdfunding campaign for officer Slager. After being rejected by GoFundMe, where the organizer first tried to launch the campaign — which was confirmed by GoFundMe in a statement Wednesday — the campaign seems to have been moved over to Indiegogo. Corresponding Twitter and Facebook accounts have also been set up in defense of the officer.
The page's description states:
Although he may have made mis-steps [sic] in judgement he was protecting the community.
It also mentions that his wife is currently expecting a child and claims (twice) that Slager had never been disciplined prior to this incident over his five years with the department. Slager could not be reached for comment by Bustle. As of press time, the campaign has not been removed by Indiegogo and has raised $65 from three contributors.
The most recent tweet argues that Officer Slager "deserves a competent defense no matter what the court of popular opinion says about his actions."
According to Twitter, the number of critics appear to outnumber the number of supporters, and many angry members of the community have taken to the Facebook comments section to voice their outrage. One user wrote, "This page is pathetic and a sad attempt at cashing in at a tragedy." Another asked, "What other murderers/rapists/etc. with badges do you put up support pages for? I'd like to know." And another added: "This page further proves that black lives don't matter."
The campaign organizer had initially tried to start a fundraiser with GoFundMe, which recently permitted a campaign supporting Memories Pizza, but the service removed the Slager page shortly after its launch. Kelsea Little, GoFundMe's public relations manager, said in a statement to ThinkProgress:
After review by our team, the campaign set up for Officer Slager was removed from GoFundMe due to a violation of our Terms and Conditions.
This is not the first time a crowdfunding campaign has been set up in defense of a white officer involved in the shooting of an unarmed black man. Shortly after Darren Wilson was identified as the officer who had shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, a campaign was set up in support of the white officer. That campaign was able to amass $234,910 in just five days, but was eventually halted over legal concerns.
Of course, circumstances in Ferguson were very different, the main distinction being that Wilson was never charged with murder, and therefore it was arguably easier for sympathizers to defend Wilson. In the case of Slager, who was caught on camera shooting Scott repeatedly as he ran away and swiftly charged with murder, his crowdfunding campaign is more questionable.