The family of a white man who was wrongfully accused of gunning down a 7-year-old black girl has continued to receive death threats even after he was officially determined not to have any involvement in the crime.
Robert Cantrell was accused of killing Jazmine Barnes in a racially-motivated drive-by shooting in northeast Houston. Barnes was sitting in the backseat of her mother’s car on Dec. 30 when another vehicle pulled up alongside and began spraying bullets.
The crime received national attention after Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and activist Shaun King began to promote a narrative that a white man murdered Barnes, which they continued to push even after they received a tip that a 20-year-old black man named Eric Black Jr. and another individual had shot Barnes.
King widely circulated a sketch of the alleged perpetrator along with Cantrell’s mugshot. Cantrell, who had been arrested on unrelated felony charges resembled the composite. In a now-deleted tweet, King asked his more than one million followers for information on Cantrell.
“What more can you tell me about Robert Cantrell? He was arrested in Houston hours after Jazmine was murdered on another violent crime spree,” King tweeted. “We’ve had 20 people call or email us and say he is a racist, violent asshole and always has been. Just tell me everything you know.”
Despite the arrest of two black men for their involvement in the crime, Cantrell and his family continue to receive threats. Hailey Cantrell, Robert’s niece told ABC7 that they are still being posted on Facebook.
“I hear, ‘Someone is going to rape, torture and murder the women and children in your family,” Hailey read.
“I just want everyone to back off,” Hailey said. “The truth is out. It had nothing to do with us, nothing to do with my uncle at all.”