Rome Smith NJ detention officer Facebook comment leads to black man suspended over 5 year old white North Carolina, Cannon Hinnant being shot in the head.
Rome Smith, who works at the Cumberland County Juvenile Detention Center, wrote on Facebook, Friday about the Aug. 9 shooting that killed Cannon Hinnant as the boy rode his bike outside his family’s home, a screenshot shows.
‘He should’ve ducked,’ Smith, 49, who is black, allegedly wrote. ‘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’s Facebook account appeared to be no longer available early Wednesday. County officials did not identify him by name, but confirmed the suspension and denounced the online comments as ‘shockingly insensitive and racist in tone,’ NJ.com reports.
In a statement to NBC, Cumberland County officials called the post ‘shockingly insensitive and racist in tone.
— Katy (@Katy69413678) August 14, 2020
‘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.’
Smith has been enrolled in the state’s pension system for 26 years and currently earns $56,678, NJ.com reports.
Smith’s post was skewered as racist and ‘very disturbing’ by those who spotted it online, including some who suggested that others ‘let his workplace know’ about his thoughts on the fatal shooting of Cannon, who was white.
@GovMurphy you need to addresss this individual in your state making obvious racist and very disturbing posts. He is laughing at the death of a 5 year old who was executed. This officer Rome Smith needs sensitivity training #JusticeForCannon pic.twitter.com/czwPp1ds5R
— Anna DV (@dv_devain) August 15, 2020
‘He is obviously racist against caucasians,’ one post read. ‘He laughed at a 5 year old boy being executed.’
The boy’s father, Austin Hinnant, told the Wilson Times Cannon was playing outside in Wilson with his sisters when he was shot. A next-door neighbor, 25-year-old Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, who is black, has been charged with first-degree murder in the boy’s death.
Witnesses told WRAL Cannon was riding his bike when a neighbor walked up to him and shot him in the head. Police investigators did not release any details about a possible motive last week.
Hinnant, meanwhile, has dismissed claims that race played a factor in the shooting.
‘This is no racial issue,’ Hinnant told the Wilson Times.
Sessoms’ parents said they suspect their son had taken drugs and was hallucinating during the shooting.