Vester Lee Flanagan II #racist nypost.com
ROANOKE, Va. — The words are a part of everyday conversation — “swinging” by an address and going out in the “field.”
But in the twisted mind of Virginia gunman Vester Lee Flanagan II, they were pure racism — and saying them became a death sentence for Alison Parker.
The 24-year-old white reporter, who was murdered on live TV along with her cameraman, used the phrases as an intern at WDBJ TV in Roanoke in 2012, according to an internal complaint filed by Flanagan, who was black.
“One was something about ‘swinging’ by some place; the other was out in the ‘field,’?” said the Jan. 21 report by assistant news director Greg Baldwin, which refers to Parker as Alison Bailey (her middle name).
Parker was never disciplined over the remarks, but Flanagan never forgot them.
Trevor Fair, a 33-year-old cameraman at WDBJ for six years, said that the words Parker used are commonplace but that they would routinely set Flanagan off.
“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,’?” Fair recounted.
“We’d be like, ‘What?’ We all know what that means, but he took it as cotton fields, and therefore we’re all racists.”
“This guy was a nightmare,” Fair said. “Management’s worst nightmare.”
Flanagan assumed everything was a jab at his race, even when a manager brought in watermelon for all employees.
“Of course, he thought that was racist. He was like, ‘You’re doing that because of me.’ No, the general manager brought in watermelon for the entire news team. He’s like, ‘Nope, this is out for me. You guys are calling me out because I’m black.’?”
Flanagan even declared that 7-Eleven was racist because it sold watermelon-flavored Slurpees.
“It’s not a coincidence, they’re racist,” he allegedly told Fair.