Last Updated on August 19, 2020
After the Wilson Police Department confirmed the prevalence of a doctored press release–fraught with typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors–to swing the narrative away from Cannon Hinnant’s coldblooded murder, another meme attempting to paint the murdered child’s parents in a bad light has surfaced.
The unsubstantiated meme which alleges that Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, was a meth dealer responsible for inducing a psychotic state of mind for Cannon’s alleged murderer, Darius Sessoms.
Sessoms is alleged to have shot the five-year-old in the head at point blank range for riding his bike on Sessom’s front yard.
Those in defense of Sessoms’ unprovoked crime claim that he is being singled out for his skin color; with some dubbing Sessoms as a “political prisoner” and other accusing Hinnant’s family of racism.
“Cannon Hinnant’s father sold meth to his son’s killer Darius Sessoms,” the meme reads. “He was his meth dealer–the same meth that put Darius Sessoms in a psychotic drug state which led to the unfortunate murder of Cannon.”
“Will you tear down his name down and destroy his image? Or is that only reserved for the darker skinned?” The meme asks, with a backdrop of the Hinnant family.
Since the murder, the Sessoms’ family has maintained that Darius was “not himself” on the day of the killing and that drugs may have caused hallucinations, per The Wilson Times.
Sadly, this was not the first time during the aftermath of Cannon Hinnant’s coldblooded murder that a meme designed to steer the narrative away from Darius Sessoms has been spun.
National File reported on a doctored press release purportedly issued by Wilson Police Department, partially absolving some blame from Darius Sessoms and pinning responsibility onto Austin Hinnant.
“Just to be clear, we did NOT find any evidence to back the version of events the family has been claiming,” the fake release read. “The parents of Cannon claimed their son had been shot at random for riding his bike into the neighbor’s yard. This is not an accurate [sic].”
It continues: “The version of events the suspect gave the police after his arrest was that Cannon’s father had invited him over over [sic] earlier in the day to do drugs.
“They later got into an altercation after getting high. Darrius claims that he struck Cannon by accident via a stray bullet while aiming for the child’s father, Austin Hinnant.
“Preliminary evidence has so far lined up with the suspects [sic] version of events. Both of the parents have prior histories of drug use and offenses.”
The creative–but error-laden–retelling of events was shared multiple times in an effort to sway the narrative away from the alternative media.
In spite of the post’s multiple errors, dozens of social media users bought the falsification.
“While Cannon’s father did admit he invited Darrius over during the day, he has refused to tell ocal authorities what exactly they were doing in the home prior to the incident.” the post explains. “When our officers arrives in [sic] the scene, Austin Hinnant appeared to be unde [sic] the influence of prohibited substances but refused to cooperate with our officers.”
“We, as of today, have not discovered any evidence of this incident of [sic] being pre-meditated [sic] or committed with any intent to kill the child,” the fake post adds.
Before the post is cut off, it reads: “However, as with any violent crimes committed against children, Cannon’s parents Austin Hinnant and Bonny Waddell have been placed under formal investigation under order of the Attorney General Josh Stein.”
The Wilson Police Department requested Facebook users to report any fake memes or press releases in a post addressing the original doctored release.
The speed at which Facebook addressed the doctored posts in comparison with other memes or articles was considered politically one-sided by some.
Additionally, a group with a five-figure membership, that started as a troll, became a hotbed for content mocking Cannon Hinnant, his family, and removing blame from his alleged killer.