In yet another indication of the cruelty and heartlessness that courses throughout the land, GoFundMe yesterday had to shut down a fundraising site that had been created for Michael Slager, the North Charleston police officer who killed Walter Scott on Saturday.
But even as GoFundMe was shutting it down, the fundraising effort just gravitated over to Indiegogo, where it had raised $393 out of a goal of $5,000 by noon on Thursday.
Slager was charged with murder after a bystander’s videotape revealed that although Slager claimed he feared for his life because Scott had taken his Taser, the video actually showed that he had shot the 50-year-old man in the back as he was fleeing—then placed the Taser next to Scott’s body as he lay facedown on the ground.
This was at least the third time that fundraising campaigns had been created for police officers—or a night watchman, in the case of George Zimmerman—who killed unarmed Black men. After Zimmerman raised more than $300,000 through Kickstarter after killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Darren Wilson raised nearly half a million through Indiegogo and two GoFundMe pages after he killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
GoFundMe’s public relations manager, Kelsea Little, told The Huffington Post the site removed the page “due to a violation of our terms and conditions.” She said she couldn’t provide any more details because of “privacy concerns.”
In response to criticism, Indiegogo released the following statement:
Social media users have started a campaign calling on people to boycott Indiegogo in protest.
No matter how pro-police any individual might be, it feels cruel and grossly inappropriate to start a campaign for a charged murderer just four days after the killing, before the victim has even been funeralized. In fact, it’s such an unseemly move that it feels like it has to be intended to send a statement—perhaps something along the lines of, Black lives don’t matter after all.
This is what the Indiegogo campaign says about the matter:
“We’re campaigning to show our Support for Officer Michael T. Slager! We believe in all of our LEOs and want to publicly support them! Although he may have made mis-steps in judgement he was protecting the community. Michael is a former Coast Guardsman with two stepchildren and a wife who is expecting a child, served for more than five years with the department without being disciplined. Please help in any way you can. He has served five years with the department without being disciplined.”
First of all, an officer shouldn’t be celebrated for serving without being disciplined—that’s what they’re supposed to do.
Second of all, that statement doesn’t tell the whole story. According to published reports, the North Charleston police department has released information showing that Slager was named in a 2013 complaint after he allegedly “tased a man for no reason,” slammed him to the ground and dragged him. Slager apparently was supposed to be searching for a suspect who was 5-foot-5. But the Black man he abused was 6-foot-3.
Slager was cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident.
He was also cited in a complaint in January for failing to file a report after a Black woman told police her children were being harassed.