A New Jersey correction officer is in trouble after he mocked the murder of a 5-year-old boy who was killed in North Carolina.
Officer Rome Smith who allegedly wrote on Facebook that a 5-year-old boy fatally shot in North Carolina “should’ve ducked” has been suspended, county officials said.
Smith, worked at Cumberland County Juvenile Detention Center before he was relieved of duty for internal investigation after a disturbing Facebook post.
Smith 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, allegedly wrote on Facebook. “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 appears to have deleted his Facebook account as of Saturday afternoon when this reporter checked. County officials did not identify the officer by name, but confirmed the suspension and denounced the online comments as “shockingly insensitive and racist in tone,” NJ.com reports.
“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, who is Black 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.
“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 brutally by their neighbor. 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 and is undergoing psychological evaluation.
The incident sparked accusations online that the crime was racially motivated due to the horrific nature of it and the fact the man who shot the boy was another race.
However, Hinnant dismissed the claims that race played a factor in the shooting that killed his little boy.
“This is no racial issue,” Hinnant told the Wilson Times.
Witnesses told WRAL Cannon was riding his bike when a neighbor walked up to him and shot him in the head point-blank for no reason. Police investigators did not release any details about a possible motive last week, the station reports. However, some reports suggested Sessom's parents said they believed their son was on drugs and was hallucinating when the unfortunate fatal accident occurred.
For a police officer to joke on social media that the little boy should have "ducked" is absolutely horrifying. This is a 5-year-old kid who was brutally murdered in a freak accident. It truly shows this single officer's disconnect from humanity and how humor is found in that is bewildering to say the very least.