DC Trawler

Why Did Virginia State Police Delete Footage Of Vester Flanagan’s Crash Site?

Hours after Bryce Williams, AKA Vester Flanagan, shot three people on live television because he believed the words “field” and “swing” were racist, we were told that he had crashed his rental car on a Virginia highway and committed suicide before the police could apprehend him. Hours after that, we were told he had survived his suicide attempt and died later in the hospital.

In and of itself, this discrepancy doesn’t mean much. Whenever something horrible like this happens, rumors and conflicting narratives fly. It takes a while to sort through it all and get the straight facts. But when you factor the following story into it, something doesn’t add up.

Franz Strasser is a BBC video-journalist who was the first at the scene of Flanagan’s crash on I-66. Here’s what happened next, according to Patrick Wilson at The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk):

A trooper told Strasser that police would need to seize his camera because his footage could be evidence but then ordered him to delete the footage. The trooper watched as the journalist deleted it, Strasser said in an interview Friday…

He filmed the silver vehicle from 200 yards away. About six police officers then began running toward him, shouting, “Get back to your car!”

Strasser retreated to his car, where he opened the trunk to put his camera inside. An officer, presumably a state trooper, came up and closed the trunk…

The officer then asked about the footage: “What’s on that camera? That could be evidence. We need to seize that…”

“He couldn’t figure out how to delete it,” Strasser said. “He gave it back to me and said, ‘I’ll watch you delete it.’ “

After Strasser deleted the footage, the officer allowed the journalists to leave for Roanoke.

I’m trying to figure out why a cop at the scene of a murderer’s suicide attempt would make someone delete footage of the scene. Especially after saying it could be evidence. Help me out, because I can’t think of a good reason.

A lot of people are trying to hide the truth about Vester Flanagan’s openly stated racist motive. And now it turns out some people are trying to hide the truth about the circumstances of his death. I just want to know what happened.

(Hat tip: Stephanie Slade)

Update: