A man falsely accused of killing a 7-year-old black girl has been found dead in a Montgomery County jail, the victim of an apparent suicide. Robert Cantrell, 49, was targeted late last year by so-called anti-racism activist Shaun King, who’s known as Talcum X for his radical black activism and remarkably pale skin.
King’s claims fell apart when the real killers were caught, and as usual, he tried to cover his tracks, but inevitably many are going to believe his irresponsible accusations contributed to Cantrell’s death.
Robert Cantrell was arrested on suspicion of robbery on December 30, 2018; the same day 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes was shot dead while in a car with her mother and siblings. Somehow, in Shaun King’s mind, that made him guilty of a crime he didn’t actually commit.
- A lot of the initial confusion has to be blamed on Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington. Talking to cops and the press after her daughter’s killing, Washington claimed the killer had been a white man.
- Based on her description, a composite sketch of the alleged shooter was drawn by Lois Gibson, a celebrity sketch artist. By coincidence, this sketch had some resemblance to Cantrell.
- Shaun King, a political activist and blogger closely associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, jumped on the bandwagon and posted Cantrell’s mugshot to his Twitter feed, asking his followers for more information. In the process, he described Cantrell as “a violent, racist a**hole.”
- King went on to launch a private investigation, offering a $100,000 reward and “working closely” with the official police investigation led by sheriff Ed Gonzales, who also focused on Cantrell as a suspect.
- Meanwhile, Cantrell and his family were receiving vicious, racist abuse from King’s followers. This included threats to rape and murder women and children in the family.
- The wheels fell off the bandwagon on January 6, 2019, when Eric Black and Larry Woodruffe were arrested for Jazmine’s murder. Both men are black. There’s evidence that King and Gonzales knew Black was the shooter several days earlier — but said nothing.
- King immediately started to bury the traces of his mistake, deleting tweets and backing off from the case. However, the racist harassment of Cantrell’s family continued.
- On July 23, Cantrell was found hanged to death in his cell in the Montgomery County jail. Did the stress of being falsely accused and having his relatives threated with rape and murder push him to suicide? We can’t know for sure — but it’s not exactly a stretch.
- This isn’t the first time King has been forced to run away from false accusations. OnMay 20, 2018, he accused Texas State Trooper Daniel Hubbard of raping Sherita Dixon-Cole during a traffic stop. Unfortunately for King (and Dixon-Cole), the Texas State Police released Hubbard’s dashcam footage three days later — and proved the rape had never happened.
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