The words that led former reporter Vester Lee Flanagan to declare TV news reporter Alison Parker a racist and then to murder her and a colleague have been revealed, and to call them racist is ridiculous.
Flanagan, known on the air as Bryce Williams, murdered Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday on live television while they were reporting a story for WDBJ-TV in Virginia, and part of his reasoning involved words Parker used when interning for the station in 2012.
“One [of Williams’ complaints] was something about ‘swinging’ by some place; the other was out in the ‘field,’” according to a Jan. 21 internal report filed by assistant news director Greg Baldwin, according to the New York Post.
Flanagan made reference to the comments on Twitter after the murders, while he was on the run from police.
“Alison made racist comments. EEOC report filed,” he wrote. “They hired her after that??”
While those words are commonplace in the news industry, the words set off Flanagan, who colleagues say thought many things were racist jabs.
“That’s how that guy’s mind worked. Just crazy, left-field assumptions like that,” a WDBJ video editor told the Post.
“That was his MO — to start s- -t,” he added. “He was unstable. One time, after one of our live shots failed, he threw all his stuff down and ran into the woods for like 20 minutes.”
WDBJ cameraman Trevor Fair agreed.
“We would say stuff like, ‘The reporter’s out in the field.’ And he would look at us and say, ‘What are you saying, cotton fields? That’s racist,’” he said.
“We’d be like, ‘What?’ We all know what that means, but he took it as cotton fields, and therefore we’re all racists,” Fair added.
According to Fair, the unstable Flanagan even thought 7-Eleven was racist for selling watermelon-flavored Slurpees.
Jessica Albert, a black former classmate of Parker at Virginia Tech University, said calling Parker a racist was ludicrous.
“When I took [my journalism] job, she recommended me,” she told The Associated Press. “She did that for me, so she’s definitely not a racist.”
But in the twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer, her words were enough to sign her death warrant.
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