Officer James A. Seay

Officer James A. Seay

Richmond Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch Wednesday, April 27, 1870

James A. Seay

Officer James Seay 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.

Bio

  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
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Incident Details

  • Cause Structure collapse

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Seay,
On today, the 147th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you to you and your fellow Officers who were also killed in that incident for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Richmond.

R.I.P.
USBP

Anonymous
United States Border Patrol

April 27, 2017

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