DARIEN — One day after skipping his court appearance in Anguilla, Scott Hapgood has been labeled a “fugitive” and an arrest warrant is being processed for his return to the British territory to face a manslaughter charge.

The 44-year-old Darien resident is accused of killing hotel worker Kenny Mitchel during a violent confrontation while he was on a family vacation in April.

Hapgood was scheduled to appear Monday in an Anguillan court, but his defense team notified officials on the Caribbean island the night before that they advised their client to not return, Anguillan Attorney General Dwight Horsford said.

“The letter further stated that this advice rested on concerns for their client’s safety and the fairness of the judicial process in Anguilla,” Horsford wrote in a statement released Tuesday. “Both concerns are totally groundless.”

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Mitchell’s death and the police handling of the investigation have prompted widespread social media outcries alleging racism and favoritism for white tourists who visit the Caribbean country.

“So this is how it works in America?” one person wrote Monday on the Unity for Justice Facebook page created by Mitchell’s supporters. “One doesn’t like the rules of the court they can decide they won’t appear and there are no consequences?”

Other posters pointed out that Darien is largely a white community with few residents of color and that the Royal Anguilla Police Force, which investigated the death, has repeatedly tried to placate Mitchel’s supporters by issuing vague press releases with little information.

“I say this with all due respect to you sir,” one person wrote on the police department’s Facebook page in April. “This press release and the previous lack thereof has placed us where we are. The handling and mismanagement, the optics and the way in which this case was handled from the get go created the storm that we have today. As an entity that rely on the public’s trust, you should have listened to the public from the jump. I pray this is a teachable moment for you and your team.”

Aguillan officials have repeatedly called for residents to tone down inflammatory rhetoric on social media with Horsford hinting that he’d take action against those who “scandalize the court” or “pervert the cause of justice.”

“This case is to be resolved by the courts and courts alone,” he said in a statement issued after Hapgood’s release on bond in August.

Hapgood’s attorneys have expressed concern for his safety due to the public outcry. But Anguillan Gov. Tim Foy contends that his country is committed to fairness in the judicial process.

“He has no reason to doubt the fairness of the judicial process,” Foy wrote in another statement released Tuesday. “The rule of law and respect for it are paramount in this territory, as in all constituent jurisdictions of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.”

Anguillan authorities are now seeking a warrant, which will be circulated worldwide to bring Hapgood back to the country, Horsford said.

“Other formal processes will now commence regarding Hapgood who is now a fugitive,” Horsford said.

As a British territory, Anguilla falls under a 2002 Extradition Treaty, allowing the country to seek the extradition of those charged with certain crimes from other nations through a warrant process.

“Throughout this process, we have kept a respectful silence to enable the court to go about its business — this is how we do things here,” Foy said. “We have not and will not engage in public relations shenanigans of the type we have seen — that is not how we do things. Hapgood has the right to fair judicial process and he will receive that. I understand an arrest warrant is now being requested.”

Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson has been a vocal supporter of the Hapgood family. She said the decision not to return to Anguilla “must have been an extraordinarily difficult one for him and his family to make.”

“With no assurances from Anguilla for his safe passage, this trip and mounting evidence of a potentially unfair and biased process, he was forced to make this very difficult decision,” Stevenson said. “We don’t realize how fortunate we are in America to be guaranteed fair and transparent due process under our legal system.”

Stevenson said it was “shocking to learn that Americans cannot rely on the same when traveling abroad to a UK territory.”

Hapgood, who is on leave from his job as a UBS trader, was originally held at Her Majesty’s Prison in Anguilla when he was denied bail. But he was later released on bond after his attorney appealed to the High Court, sparking outrage among residents on the island. The judge who denied Hapgood’s bail in April was also scheduled to preside over Monday’s hearing.

The support for Hapgood has spread beyond Darien with federal lawmakers and even President Donald Trump coming to his defense, but it remained unclear Monday whether they would fight his extradition.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal was among about 100 people who gathered last month, rallying support for Hapgood outside of Darien Town Hall. Last week, Blumenthal and other federal lawmakers, including Sens. Chris Murphy, and Lindsey Graham, and U.S. Rep Jim Himes, sent a letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to express their concerns for Hapgood’s “safety and fair treatment.”

The family has accused Mitchel, 27, of pulling a knife, resulting in Hapgood “fighting for his life” and being bitten multiple times, including on the face.

Mitchel’s death certificate originally listed prone restraint and positional asphyxiation as his cause of death. Signs of blunt force trauma were also noted.

A revised autopsy report, based on recently released toxicology tests, determined Mitchel died from a lethal dose of cocaine and not from injuries he sustained in the fight, according to The New York Times.

“Acute cocaine toxicity could have been a potentially independent cause of death in the known circumstances,” according to Dr. Stephen King, who oversaw the autopsy.

The report described cocaine levels in Mitchel’s bloodstream “twice that commonly accepted to have a fatal outcome,” causing his lungs to fill with blood and suffocating him.

A separate analysis of the new autopsy, conducted at the request of Hapgood’s lawyers by the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland, led to a similar finding.