Family of Man Wrongfully Accused After Sketch Circulated by Shaun King Speaks Out

King helped circulate a police sketch in the murder of Jazmine Barnes that led to the brief arrest of Robert Cantrell.

shaun king
Activist Shaun King shared a police sketch that lead to a falsely arrested man. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
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The family of the white man briefly accused of killing 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in a case of apparent mistaken identity is asking everyone on social media to “back off.”

Hailey Cantrell, niece of the falsely accused Robert Cantrell, told ABC News that she and her family are still receiving threats online — even after the arrests and confessions of two other suspects in the Houston, Texas murder case.

A sketch drawn up by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which greatly resembles Cantrell, a white man with blue eyes, was released and then widely circulated by the prominent Black Lives Matter activist, Shaun King, last week.

“We’ve had 20 people call or email us and say he is a racist, violent (expletive) and always has been,” King captioned the sketch in a now-deleted tweet. “Just tell me everything you know.”

King has over 1 million Twitter followers.

Since the post went viral, even after two black men were charged in the murder, the Cantrell family has continually received threats.

“I hear, ‘Someone is going to rape, torture and murder the women and children in your family,” Hailey Cantrell read from one Facebook comment.

“I just want everyone to back off,” she said. “The truth is out. It had nothing to do with us, nothing to do with my uncle at all.”

Police now believe the sketch is of a witness who Jazmine’s sisters remember from the Dec. 30 shooting.

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