A group of D.C. police officers and community activists in Northeast Washington kicked off a fund-raising campaign yesterday to defray legal costs of a police officer charged in the shooting death of a man while the officer was working his second job while off duty.

Officer James A. Hairston, a 14-year veteran, has been on administrative leave without pay since his indictment in January on a charge of manslaughter while armed. The group said he had been "abandoned" in the shooting case by the city, the store at which he worked and by his union, the Fraternal Order of Police.

The committee announced yesterday at a press conference--which Hairston did not attend--that it is seeking $35,000 for Hairston's legal defense. It hopes to raise the money by various means. Trial is delayed pending Hairston's search for an attorney, committee members said.

"I find it hard to believe the city government has abandoned Officer Hairston," said Virginia Morris, chairman of the fund-raising committee and of the 6th Police District Advisory Council.

Hairston, 36, is charged in the Oct. 12, 1981, shooting of Adam Tyree Boyd outside the Super Pride market at 5110 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. NE, where Hairston worked as a clerk.

Hairston shot Boyd, 36, with his service revolver after Boyd attacked him with a piece of wood in the store's parking lot after closing time, police said. Boyd was arrested at Washington Hospital Center for assaulting a police officer, but he died six days later of his wound.

The FOP says it has offered Hairston the services of a law firm that it retains under terms of a legal insurance policy, but that it cannot afford to honor Hairston's request that he be defended by counsel of his choice.

D. C. officials and officers of the market could not be reached for comment.