Al Sharpton is always heavily involved wherever there’s racial tension or a fight for justice. However, he won’t be involved in any events surrounding the fatal shooting of Walter Scott. Apparently, the Scott family has witnessed the drawbacks of Rev. Sharpton’s involvement with the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and they aren’t exactly pleased with the type of attention he draws.
According to the Washington Times, the Scott family has kindly asked him to refrain from attending the funeral and to stay out of any legal affairs relative to the case. It’s no secret that several news outlets blamed Rev. Sharpton’s influence for the ongoing protests that led to many riots and chants condemning police officers. So, the family does not want Scott’s incident to escalate into a bigger problem than it already is.
An alleged source close to the family recently spoke with New York Daily News about the family’s sentiments toward Rev. Sharpton. Although they respect Rev. Sharpton work, the National Action Network and his offer for support, they’ve opted not to accept his assistance.
“We don’t want another Ferguson type circus here,” the source reportedly said.
In addition to declining Rev. Sharpton’s support, the family has also requested that he not attend Scott’s funeral. The family’s attorney, Chris Stewart, recently released an official statement in regards to the funeral plans. “The funeral is only going to be close family members. The Reverend Al has called and expressed his support and condolences,” said Stewart. “The family is very appreciative.”
Rev. Sharpton has also released a statement in response to the attorney’s statement. He stated that he had been in contact with the family and the attorney, but had “no plans to go down” to the funeral. However, he has been invited to preach at a vigil in North Charleston the day after the funeral. “They are in mourning and we would never come unless they asked,” Rev. Sharpton said. “We’re willing to be helpful to the family but only when needed. I have been invited to preach in North Charleston, SC, on Sunday and to help lead a healing prayer vigil that afternoon by local clergy who have worked on this case from the beginning.”
The family’s decision came shortly after the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division released the dash cam footage. The footage, which shows Officer Michael Slager’s interaction with Scott prior to the shooting, shows him fleeing from the vehicle. As he attempted to fell the scene, he was shot in the back eight times.
[Image(s) via North Charleston Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Drew Angerer/Getty Image]