NBA star LeBron James called for the Ohio cop who shot dead 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant to be held accountable for his actions in a now-deleted tweet on Wednesday in which he wrote ‘you’re next’.
Bryant, a black teenager, was killed by a white Columbus police officer on Tuesday while charging at two people with a knife, sparking more outrage over the continued use of lethal force by cops just moments after former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was found guilty on murder and manslaughter charges over the death of George Floyd.
In response to Bryant’s death, James, who is consistently outspoken about social justice issues, tweeted: ‘You’re next. #ACCOUNTABILITY.’
Many took it to mean the Lakers star was inciting violence against cops.
Arkansas Sen Tom Cotton was one of the first to call James out, tweeting: ‘Lebron James is inciting violence against an Ohio police officer. This is disgraceful and dangerous. Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?’
‘People like LeBron James and his friends on the left are driving good people away from careers in law enforcement. This is the exact OPPOSITE of how to improve policing,’ Ohio Rep Mike Loychik.
Another person wrote: ‘I did not have Lebron threatening a cop for saving a girl’s life on my Bingo Card. Did anyone?’
‘On behalf of pro athletes, current and former, I apologize for how #LeBronJames just showed his inner Maxine Waters and made a very real, ongoing threat to the life of the officer who quickly acted to prevent a knife attack from becoming worse. Many of us appreciate what LEOs do!’ former MLB star Lenny Dykstra tweeted.
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In response to Bryant’s death, James tweeted: ‘You’re next. #ACCOUNTABILITY’
James was slammed for inciting violence against police
Clay Travis tweeted: ‘LeBron James doxes police officer who saved a teenage girl from being stabbed to death, demands officer be held accountable, sets new record for athlete stupidity.’
‘Lebron James is speaking out because the wrong person died. If the other person was stabbed to death, he wouldn’t be saying a word,’ Stephen L. Miller wrote.
Several others defended James with some slamming those who tried to ‘publicly crucify’ the basketball star.
‘A cop just killed a little girl and y’all are more concerned about Lebron James tweeted that the cop is next to take accountability???? GET REAL,’ one person shared.
Another wrote: ‘I don’t understand why y’all tryna publicly crucify LeBron James for a now deleted tweet that was TOTALLY take out of context. I’m convinced that y’all LOOK FOR any little mistake to “cancel” a person’s entire career.’
On Wednesday evening, James responded to the backlash and explained why he actually deleted the tweet.
‘I’m so d*mn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,’ he wrote.
In a separate tweet, James said: ‘ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!’
Several others defended James with some slamming those who tried to ‘publicly crucify’ the basketball star
On Wednesday evening, James responded to the backlash in two separate tweets. ‘I’m so d*mn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate,’ he wrote
His remarks came after officials with the Columbus Division of Police released footage of the shooting of Bryant just hours after it happened, a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.
The girl was identified by Franklin County Children Services, which said in a release that Bryant was under the care of the agency at the time of her death.
The 10-second clip begins with the officer getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference.
The officer takes a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down.
Bryant then charges at another girl or woman, who is pinned against a car. From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and Bryant slumps to the ground.
A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.
LeBron’s remarks came after officials with the Columbus Division of Police released footage of the shooting of Bryant just hours after it happened
Ma’Khia Bryant – identified by her mother on social media – was taken to Mount Carmel East hospital in critical condition but was pronounced dead at 5.21pm
A man immediately yells at the officer, ‘You didn´t have to shoot her! She´s just a kid, man!’
The officer responds: ‘She had a knife. She just went at her.’
The race of the officer wasn’t clear and he was taken off patrolling the streets for the time being.
Bryant was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. It remains unclear if anyone else was injured.
Woods said state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance. Ohio´s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now reviewing the killing following an agreement with the city last summer for all police shootings to be handled by the independent investigators under Attorney General Dave Yost’s office.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther mourned the loss of the young victim but defended the officer´s use of deadly force.
‘We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,’ he told reporters.
The shooting happened about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd.
It also took place less than five miles from where the funeral for Andre Hill, who was killed by another Columbus police officer in December, was held earlier this year.
The officer in Hill’s case, Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, is now facing trial for murder, with the next hearing scheduled for April 28.
Less than three weeks before Hill was killed, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr in Columbus. The case remains under federal investigation.
A crowd gathers to protest in the neighborhood where a Columbus police officer fatally shot a teenage girl Tuesday night
Local citizens confront police in the neighborhood where a Columbus police officer fatally shot a teen girl
A crowd gathers to protest in the neighborhood where a Columbus police officer fatally shot Bryant
Last week, Columbus police shot and killed a man who was in a hospital emergency room with a gun on him. Officials are continuing an investigation into that shooting.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the shooting ‘tragic’ and said President Joe Biden has been briefed on it.
‘She was a child. We´re thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss,’ Pskai said in a statement.
Pskai said the White House’s focus is ‘to address systemic racism and implicit bias head on’ by passing legislation on ‘much-needed’ police reforms.
‘So our focus is on working to address systemic racism and implicit bias head on and, of course, to passing laws and legislation that will put much-needed reforms into place at police departments around the country.’
Kimberly Shepherd, 50, who has lived in the neighborhood where Tuesday’s shooting took place for 17 years, said she knew the teenage victim.
‘The neighborhood has definitely went through its changes, but nothing like this,’ Shepherd said of the shooting. ‘This is the worst thing that has ever happened out here and unfortunately it is at the hands of police.’
Shepherd and her neighbor Jayme Jones, 51, had celebrated the guilty verdict of Chauvin. But things changed quickly, she said.
‘We were happy about the verdict. But you couldn’t even enjoy that,’ Shepherd said. ‘Because as you’re getting one phone call that he was guilty, I’m getting the next phone call that this is happening in my neighborhood.’