Nate Silvester, an officer with the Marshal’s Office in Bellevue, mocked Lebron James in a now-viral TikTok video after the NBA star advocated for police accountability.
In the video, a uniformed Silvester is inside a car, pretending to speak through his radio. “Dispatch, I’ve arrived at that disturbance. Will you have LeBron call my cellphone right away, please? Thank you,” Silvester says.
Silvester then pretends to speak to people who are outside his car window, asking one to “put the knife down” and “stop stabbing” the other person. He tells the individuals to “hold on” because James is calling him.
“LeBron, hey, yeah it’s me again,” Silvester says, simulating a conversation with the athlete. “Listen, I’m out here at this disturbance call, and there’s a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife. What do you think I should do?”
Silvester implies that James asked him about race, saying, “Why does that matter?”
“OK, well, they’re both Black. One guy is trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified.” Silvester continues. “So, you don’t care if a Black person kills another Black person—but you do care if a white cop kills a Black person, even if he’s doing it to save the life of another Black person? I mean, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then again, you’re really good at basketball, so I guess I’ll take your word for it.”
He ends the video by saying “Michael Jordan’s the goat.”
In a since-deleted tweet, James posted a photo of Nicholas Reardon, the Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant after she allegedly lunged at another Black person while holding a knife. Reardon reportedly shot the Black teenager four times on April 20, the same day that former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd. Few details regarding the shooting have been revealed.
“YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” James wrote with an hourglass emoji.
James later explained why he deleted the tweet. “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because it’s 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,” James tweeted at the time. “ANGER does [not do] 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!”
A formal complaint was filed against Silvester on Monday, according to Idaho Mountain Express. Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns told the local news outlet that he couldn’t say whether Silvester will be suspended during the investigation.
Silvester’s video has been viewed 4 million times since being posted on Saturday and has garnered mixed reactions online, with one viewer pointing to it as the reason “why (they) don’t back the blue.” Silvester has nearly 200,000 followers on TikTok.
Silvester previously defended Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center veteran police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man, after allegedly confusing her Taser and gun. Potter has reportedly since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
“Yeah, the female officer in the Daunte Wright incident f*cked up big time, she made a huge mistake, it’s awful, it’s horrible, but at least she had the balls to wear the badge and do the job for 26 years in an area like Minneapolis,” he says in one video, responding to a TikToker who criticized Potter in the comments section of another video.
“Endless crimes that have been prevented probably saved a few lives even,” he says of “the amount of good” he imagines Potter did throughout her time as a cop. “But none of that stuff matters now. It’s all being disregarded because of this one mistake, and her life has changed forever.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to the Marshal’s Office in Bellevue.
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