A Virginia police sergeant tasked with monitoring protests related to Gov. Ralph Northam at the state Capitol has been suspended and placed on paid administrative leave after a self-identifying militant antifascist group published a blog post alleging the sergeant had an “affinity” for Nazi and white supremacist symbols and association with one particularly violent hate group.
Robert A. Stamm, 36, was suspended Wednesday, according to a statement from the Virginia Division of Capitol Police. According to the statement, the division is reviewing the “possible violation of division policy” raised by the blog post. Stamm, who according to the New York Times joined the division in 2014 and was promoted to his current rank last year, will remain suspended until that review is completed.
Stamm declined to comment when reached by the Times. He also appears to have since deleted his social media accounts.
On Tuesday, a group called Antifascists of the Seven Hills published a blog post based on Stamm’s social media posts after it said it identified him from the Northam protests. Those social media posts, the group argued, pointed to an interest in the symbols of white supremacy, as evidenced by the sergeant’s tattoos and the flags visible in photos of his workout room.
According to the blog post, Stamm lists The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany among his favorite books, and on Facebook, he had liked a variety of right-wing pages, including a page dedicated to the white supremacist myth of rampant violence against white farmers in South Africa and a number of neo-völkisch pages.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, neo-völkisch groups worship Norse or Germanic gods, and their spirituality is “premised on the survival of white Europeans and the preservation of dead or dying cultures they presume to embody.” While not all of the groups are hate-based, the SPLC labels the Asatru Folk Assembly, which Stamm had liked on Facebook, as a hate group based on white supremacy and misogyny.
Beyond just liking the Asatru Folk Assembly page, Stamm was friends with “a number of people who claim to be associated with the group,” according to the blog post, and twice updated his profile photo to have the group’s logo overlaid on it.
The Virginia Asatru Folk Assembly group in particular had a concerning history. In 2015, the FBI arrested two men in the Richmond area who identified with the group. According to the FBI, the men had been plotting to shoot up or bomb synagogues and black churches in an effort to start a race war.