LeBron James has come under fire for his tweet targeting the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl in Columbus Ohio.
The Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted a picture of the police officer with the words "You're Next" with a hashtag "ACCOUNTABILITY" referring to the recent trial of officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
The tweet was almost immediately deleted by James but his actions of directly taunting the officer, who was responding to a 911 call by a person saying they were being physically threatened, has been deemed uncalled for. The body camera footage released by the police shows the officer walking towards a group of people on a driveway.
Bryant is shown swinging a knife at a girl, who falls backwards. The officer calls for the 16-year-old to get down but she charges with the knife towards another woman pinned against a car. The officer fired four shots and Bryant slumps to the ground with the knife next to her. She was immediately taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
"The NBA should fine lebron thousands for every minute this tweet remains active," one user tweeted.
Lebron James is inciting violence against an Ohio police officer. This is disgraceful and dangerous. Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?" Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) wrote in response.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has labelled the entire episode a tragedy. He admits that while the officer did his duty to protect the life of another young girl, he mourned the loss of Bryant.
"It's a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," Ginther said Tuesday night, as quoted on the Fox News website. "The city of Columbus lost a [16-year-old] girl today. We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community. But a family is grieving tonight. And this young [16-year-old] girl will never be coming home."
James, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, took accountability for his first tweet about the incident and went on to explain the reason he called out the officer for shooting the teenage girl.
"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 wrote.
"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 to that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!" the Akron-native added.