This Man Is Not the Alleged WDBJ Shooter, So Stop Saying He Is With This Photo
Meet Sherman Lea, Jr. He’s a speaker and entrepreneur living in Virginia, and for a brief moment on Wednesday morning, television news audiences and online media gawkers suspected him of having murdered WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.
Why? Probably because an image of Lea with Parker and her coworker (and boyfriend) Chris Hurst was discovered on Lea’s Twitter account:
— Sherman Lea Jr (@ShermanLeaJr) April 26, 2015
Since the authorities hadn’t yet released the name of suspect Vester Flanagan, and because Lea’s being an African American was probably “good enough” for anyone who’d seen the initial, blurry footage of the suspect from the original broadcast, social media grabbed hold of the photo and sounded the otherwise false alarm.
This obviously alarmed Lea, who initially tweeted a simple statement regarding the manner when the photo began to circulate:
I am not Vester Lee Flanigan — Sherman Lea Jr (@ShermanLeaJr) August 26, 2015
Unfortunately the image continued to spread. While the majority of media outlets knew better than to publish the photo sans confirmation, social media users unfamiliar with journalistic standards continued on with their own Reddit-style crusade.
Perhaps this is why Lea captured a screenshot of one such post and put on Twitter with the cautionary note, “Serious media mistake puts people’s lives in danger.”
Serious media mistake puts people’s lives in danger I am not Vester Lee Flanagan pic.twitter.com/TkhMSrGzYj
— Sherman Lea Jr (@ShermanLeaJr) August 26, 2015
Luckily, a Google image search reveals that no news media outlets of any worth are currently still misusing Lea’s photo to identify Flanagan.
If you see Lea’s photo circulating on social media or elsewhere, make sure to notify the poster of their mistake.
[Image via Twitter]
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