An officer with the Cumberland County juvenile detention unit in New Jersey was suspended over a social media post about Cannon Hinnant, a 5-year-old North Carolina boy who was recently shot and killed in an alleged murder.
From a screenshot circulating on Twitter of a Facebook post attributed to Rome Smith, who is Black:
He should’ve ducked [shrug emoji]
Y’all always trying to sneak diss and discredit a black person being killed innocently by police . Blame cannon’s parents for not watching him !!! F Y’ALL
Smith was suspended over the post, Cumberland County spokeswoman Jody Hirata told NBC News.
“We will not tolerate county employees using social media to broadcast hateful messages,” Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said. “This is not who we are and we intend to pursue the strongest action available to us.”
Law&Crime could not reach Smith for comment.
Hinnant was white. Darius N. Sessoms, a 25-year-old neighbor accused of running across the street to shoot the child in the head while the victim’s 7- and 8-year-old sisters watched, is Black. The case picked up the attention of right-leaning commentators, who claimed media outlets didn’t cover the shooting because of the defendant’s and victim’s races.
There’s no publicly known evidence of race as an alleged motive.
Cannon’s father Austin Hinnant has said he had dinner with the defendant, a neighbor of eight years, the night before the shooting. The boy’s mother Bonny Waddell denied that race had anything to do with it.
“I don’t know what it was,” she told KSDK.
Rachel Pipkin, who is a cousin of Hinnant’s mother, said she used to play with Sessoms when they were kids, telling Fox 59, “I never thought he’d kill someone.”
All told, Cannon’s family are shocked and outraged by his death.
Sessoms’s parents told WRAL they were deeply saddened. They believed their son was on drugs and hallucinating, they said. It is unclear if the defendant will make this argument, or something like it, in court.
Austin Hinnant and Waddell have said that they will ask prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Sessoms.
“My baby didn’t deserve this,” Waddell told WRAL.
[Screengrab from the Hinnant crime via 13News Now]
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