So This Happened: Media Misidentified Man As Alleged WDBJ Shooter Vester Flanagan, Apologizes For Mistake

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As news outlets reported the tragic shooting of two Roanoke, Virginia journalists on Wednesday, at least a handful of media players posted a photo of a Black man they identified as the suspected shooter and former WDBJ employee, Vester Lee Flanagan.

Problem is, the photo – which showed the Black man sitting between shooting victim Alison Parker and her boyfriend Chris Hurst – wasn’t of the alleged shooter. It was Sherman Lea Jr., executive director of New Hope Support Services, according to NewRepublic.com.

Shortly after his photo began to circulate online, Lea took to Twitter to clear up the confusion, making note of how dangerous it was to misidentify the suspected shooter during an active police pursuit.

While news outlets have corrected the mistake, the fact still remains that a simple misidentification could have been costly for Lea and his loved ones. And when compounded with the racial undertones this dredges up — a nod to the often racially biased media coverage that suggests all Black people look alike — it’s too severe of a blunder to overlook.

In many cases, it’s simply annoying and insulting. But for Lea, it could have been deadly.

SOURCE: New Republic | PHOTO CREIT: Getty, Twitter


WATCH: Sherman Lea, Jr. talks with Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now about how a photo led to him being mistakenly identified as the WDBJ shooter.

Be sure to get to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST onTV One.


SEE ALSO:

Everything We Know So Far About Alleged WDBJ Gunman Vester Lee Flanagan, AKA Bryce Williams

President Obama Speaks On Virginia Shooting, George Zimmerman Calls Obama A “Baboon”

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