A Virginia police officer tasked with keeping the public safe during demonstrations calling for the ouster of Governor Ralph Northam (D) has been placed on administrative leave after being identified as a possible white nationalist.
According to a statement from the Virginia Division of Capitol Police, Sergeant Robert A. Stamm's past was brought to the attention of division officials on Wednesday when photos appearing to show his white supremacist tattoos and flags were sent to his supervisors.
Stamm was immediately suspended from his post until the conclusion of an official investigation.
"There is a review policy in place, and we will follow that policy," said Colonel Anthony S. Pike, chief of the division.
According to The New York Times, the incriminating photos were sent to the department by a local antifascist organization, the Antifascists of the Seven Hills of Richmond, Virginia. The group's website claims it works to "combat fascism as communists and anarchists united in militant opposition." Unlike some public facing antifa associations, members of this body prefer to remain anonymous.
Stamm came to the group's attention when its members noticed he always seemed to wear a bandage on his neck while on duty. After doing some digging, the antifascists found the officer had a neck tattoo that appeared to indicate white nationalist leanings. Further research suggested Stamm could have multiple tattoos with Nazi and white supremacy themes.
The group identified the sergeant's social media profiles and discovered images seeming to contain paraphernalia related to white supremacy organizations. All of the group's findings were then published as a blog post on the Antifascist of the Seven Hills website.
Y’all know #markherring’s admittance to wearing black face is— AntifaSevenHills 🏴 (@ash_antifa) February 6, 2019
1) not at all surprising
2) nothing compared to the horrific story of a Sgt of @VaCapitolPolice being tied to white supremacist extremists and being put on leave in a few hours.https://t.co/pwKIRNeIl6 pic.twitter.com/DXCroGjKCG
After the post went up, the antifascists contacted Stamm's supervisors and informed them of the 36-year-old's online behavior. Shortly after the news of the allegations broke, the sergeant's social media handles disappeared.
HuffPost writes the suspended officer couldn't be reached for a statement, but members of the Richmond-based Antifa group spoke with the news site and said they believe it's their responsibility to expose the wrongdoings of these individuals hired to protect the public.
"While we believe policing is, inherently, a white supremacist institution, when the cops are so bold as to make their allegiances open, we seize the opportunity," the group's spokesperson said. "When they tout their allegiance to overtly fascist groups, we name them and expose their ties."
News of Stamm's alleged ideology comes as the capitol building he was meant to protect has been rocked by protests over racist photos of state leaders. As Blavity has reported, Virginia's governor has admitted to wearing blackface in a picture. He is under pressure to resign; however, his lieutenant governor has been accused of rape. The man third in line for the state's top job, Attorney General Mark Herring, has also admitted to wearing blackface.
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