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Officer James M. Walker | Richmond Police Department, Virginia Richmond Police Department, Virginia

Officer

James M. Walker

Richmond Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch: Wednesday, April 27, 1870

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 47

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Structure collapse

Incident Date: 4/27/1870

Weapon: Not available

Suspect: Not available

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Officer James Walker died of injuries sustained in the Virginia Capitol Disaster.

On April 27th, 1870, a balcony collapsed inside of the Virginia State Capitol, killing 62 people, including 12 law enforcement officers.

Following the Civil War, the United States Army installed a mayor in Richmond. In January 1870 Virginia's governor appointed a new city council, which then appointed a new mayor. However, the previous mayor refused to cede the mayorship and the city operated with two mayors and governments, including two separate police departments.

The balcony collapse occurred during a Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals hearing to determine which of the city's two mayors and police departments was considered legitimate. Because of the interest in the case, hundreds of citizens crowded onto the balcony to view the case. The weight of the spectators caused the structure to give way, killing dozens of elected officials, law enforcement officers, and citizens, and injuring hundreds more.

Following what became known as the Capitol Disaster, the court reconvened and ultimately ruled that the newly appointed mayor was the legitimate mayor.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Sergeant James T. Cox
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Officer John R. Meagher
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Officer James A. Seay
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Officer Julius Schultz
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Captain D. G. Tourgee
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Deputy Marshal Thomas P. Foley
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End of Watch: Wednesday, April 27, 1870
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View all 5 Reflections

Most Recent Reflection

Officer Walker, the passage of time will not be permitted to dissipate the memories of what happened on this date, 144 years ago. You were om duty, in uniform, in the City of Richmond, and protecting all of its citizens when you met your untimely death. Thank you for daring to walk the path of the warrior . . thank you for your contributions to the City of Richmond, VA, You rest now, you're work here is done. With utmost respect and brotherly love, Jim Crotty

Special Agent, ATF (Ret,)
Former Richmond, VA Police Officer
April 27, 2014

 

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