There are a lot of unanswered questions about a report that circulated through some Confederate heritage websites over the last few days about a report that VCU student Rob Walker, whose work in film school includes a film about the activities of the Virginia Flaggers, came upon two people who were defacing the Jefferson Davis monument on Monument Avenue and Richmond and repeatedly tased the individuals while awaiting the arrival of police.
First, we remain puzzled that there’s been no coverage of this story by the Richmond media. In the past the Flaggers have been successful in garnering media attention, and no one knows how to do this better than Susan Hathaway … who certainly had a hand in circulating the report about Walker’s actions. You would think the Flaggers would have embraced this story and shared it with the media, but this has not happened. Now we have reports that the Richmond Times-Dispatch is looking into the story based upon the account that’s been circulated. No news yet as to whether other Richmond media outlets have been contacted, although that may be only a matter of time. As the original report shared Walker’s e-mail address, I’m sure they will have no trouble tracking him down for his own account.
Second, we are still awaiting word from the Richmond police department as to what happened. After all, according to the report, one of the individuals cornered by Walker was tased repeatedly, a circumstance that usually requires medical attention. According to the account, police arrived at the scene and handcuffed the individuals involved. We have yet to see a police report on the matter, although we have learned that the police have also been contacted concerning the report of Walker’s actions.
Third, Walker’s use of a taser will doubtless come under scrutiny. As he was on campus at VCU turning in his project, it may be a matter of interest at VCU to learn about students bringing tasers to campus. The university has a policy concerning weapons on campus, and it is concerned about the proper use of tasers. Indeed, “proper use” is critical here. Was Walker acting in self-defense, or was he attacking people with his taser? Authorities investigating the matter may find that distinction to be critical.
Although we thank Susan Hathaway, the Virginia Flaggers, and various Confederate heritage websites for bringing this incident to our attention, it appears that the story is far from complete, and many important questions remain unanswered.