Several social media users are seeking “justice” for a popular TikToker who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for vehicular homicide.
In 2018, Cameron Herrin, 21, 18-years-old at the time, was behind the wheel of the car that hit 24-year-old Jessica Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter, Lillia, killing them both. Investigators said he and a friend were street-racing on Bayshore Boulevard at the time of the crash.
According to reports, Jessica and her daughter were trying to cross the street at West Knights Avenue in what police described as a “lawful crossing.” However, before they could make it across, they were hit by a 2018 Ford Mustang, driven by Cameron, who appears to be racing against a gold Nissan driven by John Barrineau.
The data recorder in the Mustang reportedly showed that Cameron was speeding at 102 miles an hour before the driver began hard-braking, right before the crash. The speed limit on the road at that time was 45 mph.
The car was a gift from Cameron’s parents after he graduated from Tampa Catholic High School two days earlier.
A judge sentenced Cameron to 24 years in state prison, almost three years after the young man sped along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida, and crashed into the mother and daughter.
Christopher Nash of Hillsborough Circuit Judge made the decision at the end of a long day of testimony, which saw Cameron’s family members and friends take the witness stand to talk about his character before a parade of family members of the two victims voiced their heartbreak and rage at the damage done to their lives.
After the sentencing, by early July, an army of social media accounts started sharing posts that tagged “Cameron Herrin” or “justice for Cameron” on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages of the 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County.
Petitions were also made on state attorney Andrew Warren and the Florida Department of Corrections, the Tampa Bay Times, and several local television news stations. They also tagged the governor, the president, and Oprah.
While on TikTok, many users called for shorter sentencing for Cameron, though many of these posts may not be from real people.
Many appeared to be from the Middle East, posting in a combination of English and Arabic words. They posted heart emoji, broken heart emoji, and videos of Herrin reacting to his sentencing set to Britney Spears’ Criminal.
By the end of July, there were more than 100,000 tweets about Cameron. While videos related to Cameron were viewed 1.7 billion times on TikTok.
They posted personal photos of Cameron dating back to middle school, and fan art of him as an anime character. Experts who study online disinformation saw similarities to paid influence campaigns using fake accounts.
Hannah Kosh, a TikToker who is known for creating news-related content recently made a video about Cameron explaining why they’re seeing his “face all over TikTok.” Her video has been viewed over 2.2 million views since being posted on August 4.
“People on the internet and on TikTok specifically think that this punishment is too harsh and that he deserves a second chance,” Hannah said in the video before reading the comments. “Here are some of the comments: “Poor boy, I hope they will forgive him, he looks innocent. He didn’t do it on purpose,” and “He doesn’t deserve that. You’re too cute.”
Cameron, who is now 21-years-old, has amassed over 2 million followers on the social media platform and gained a massive fan following.
Cameron recently deleted all of his TikTok videos but fans continued to show support.
A petition titled “Cameron Herrin 21 years old, jailed for 24years, justice for him” has even appeared on the Change dot org website.
Over 27,000 loyal fans have signed said petition. It reads that 24 years sentenced for jail was too long for the youngster and that imprisonment is “worst than a death.”
After Herrin was moved from the Hillsborough County Jail to the Florida Department of Corrections Central Florida Reception Center in Orlando, people flooded the prison facility with phone calls.
They also found the phone numbers of guards there and hacked one of their social media accounts, which resulted in Cameron’s “solitary confinement,” and is unable to communicate with his family.
A department of corrections spokesperson said that Cameron was put in administrative confinement, isolating him from other prisoners, “out of an abundance of caution.”
Cameron has since been moved to Graceville Correctional Facility, near the Alabama state line.
His security status shows “close custody,” one level below maximum, which is typical for new inmates. Records show he is living in a dormitory with other inmates in the regular population and has no disciplinary incidents.
The victims’ family members all said they wanted the maximum sentence.
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