Following the April 4 fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a North Charleston, South Carolina officer, the local public has actively protested, but with the same law-abiding peace this community wants from its police — no disorder, no riots and no arrests.
The public hasn’t been racially divided over the murder of a black man by a white officer that was recorded by a Hispanic witness, either. In fact, the family of slain Walter Scott publicly requested that minority activist Rev. Al Sharpton not attend the upcoming funeral. “We don’t want another Ferguson,” a Scott family representative told media.
Despite this inclusive, multi-ethnic and peaceful response by protestors, though, a local police group’s leader is trying to make it racial by insinuating risk of a violent display from the African-American community.
John Blackmon, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, said in an April 9 press release:
Do not allow the professional race agitators to seize this moment to advance their often self-serving opinions of what is wrong in South Carolina. Do not allow them to bemoan the lack of trust of police by the minority community. Do not allow them to beat down the hard working men and women of the Lowcountry’s Law Enforcement.
The only ones agitating, however, are from the opposite side of the protesters. One named “R. Owens” collected online donations to support Michael Slager, the former policeman. “(M)urder is too harsh a charge for 1 mis-step (sic),” Owens claimed. The crowd-funding site Indiegogo removed that page from its website on April 10, but not before one donor made goals of racism quite apparent in a comment on the site.
A “Walter Scott deserved it” page remains on Facebook, claiming the unarmed deceased, who was shot in the back from a distance, was “being belligerent with the police and the cop had to use his weapon in self-defense.”
And now – coming straight from the president of a police organization – the local community, which has only responded with peace and order, has to tolerate this accusation of “race agitators?”
Blackmon’s statement concludes:
Do not allow this incident to stereotype the entire law enforcement profession.
The only application of stereotype is coming from him, though, and from those publicly supporting Slager.