The crowdfunding site GoFundMe rejected a campaign to raise money for Michael Slager, the police officer charged with murdering Walter Scott in South Carolina. A fundraising effort set up on a competing site, Indiegogo.com was in operation on Thursday, but money was being raised at an anemic pace. As of 2 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, the Indiegogo site had raised just 546 dollars from 24 contributors.
The pathetic 500 dollar haul, pales in comparison to the over $400,000 Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson was able to raise through GoFundMe after he shot and killed Michael Brown. Although the cases aren’t exactly identical, the disparity in fundraising is stark. As Sarah Jones at PoliticusUSA noted on Thursday, the tide is turning in favor of “black lives matter,” as evidenced by Time featuring the theme on its cover.
The egregious nature of the South Carolina shooting, captured on videotape, combined with the power of public protest, has apparently convinced GoFundMe to avoid being tainted by association with Officer Slager. While Indiegogo apparently couldn’t be persuaded not to participate in the circulation of blood money, the inability of Officer Slager to draw in the legions of conservative contributors who flocked to support Darren Wilson is telling.
Perhaps the Slager killing was just so blatant and horrific that even right-wing defenders of police who shoot black men, couldn’t bring themselves to his defense. Or perhaps the murder of Walter Scott was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”, and represents a true tipping point in American public opinion towards police shootings of unarmed black men.
Crowdfunding sites raised over $200,000 for vigilante George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin. Darren Wilson received nearly half a million dollars in contributions after killing Michael Brown. As of Thursday afternoon, Michael Slager hadn’t even reached his first 1000 dollars from crowd-funding sites. One site refused to operate a page on his behalf, and another site allowed a page to be put up for him, but it wasn’t attracting many contributors.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.