Department says Idaho deputy will be ‘dealt with internally’ after viral LeBron James video
Andy Rose, CNN
Published at | Updated at
(CNN) — After an Idaho officer posted a TikTok video mocking NBA star LeBron James’ comments about the use of force by police, his employer, the Bellevue Marshal’s Office, said it was addressing the issue internally.
In a statement posted on Facebook, it said: “The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal’s Office.”
The post added: “The Bellevue Marshal’s Office always demands that our Deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner. This is NOT how we expect our Deputies to act on duty or use city time. This is a personnel issue that is being dealt with internally. “
Deputy Marshal Nate Silvester posted the video over the weekend, in uniform, and shot from inside his police vehicle, in which he pretends to be responding to a knife attack. After saying, “Excuse me, could you please put the knife down, sir,” Silvester pretends to speak to James over the phone, asking for advice.
He says on the phone, “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, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then again you are really good at basketball so I guess I’ll take your word for it,” Silvester pretends to be telling James on the phone.
At one point Silvester picks up his phone and pretends to call Lebron back for advice on how to respond to a police call.
“Lebron? It’s me again.”
“Listen, I’m out here at a disturbance call, and there’s a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife. What do you think I should do?”
He also tells the fictional people outside his vehicle, “Sorry, guys, you’re on your own. Good luck!”
It’s unclear if he was on duty at the time he shot the video.
CNN was not able to reach Silvester via phone, email, or social media Wednesday evening. Boise TV station KTVB says the deputy declined to comment when they reached him on Tuesday.
Last week, James tweeted a photo of a Columbus, Ohio, police officer with the caption, “You’re next. #accountability,” following the killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant at the hands of Columbus police. Police bodycam footage showed Bryant holding a knife in her right hand and lunging at a girl, who fell to the ground. An officer opened fire when she appeared to attempt to lunge at a second person, firing four shots killing Bryant.
James later deleted the tweet, saying it was being used “to create more hate.”
“This isn’t about one officer,” he tweeted. “It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Silvester’s video was picked up by conservative media sites and got more than half a million likes.
Many people replied to the Marshall’s office announcement that it was addressing the issue internally, with positive comments toward Sylvester.
“I certainly hope that your officer is not going to face disciplinary action. He just pointed out how disturbing what LeBron James did and said,” one woman wrote.
“Well, you should have stood behind your deputy and against these ridiculous people that whine about being offended. It’s sad that you didn’t support him. By the way, the video was hilarious and spot on,” said another.
Silvester has posted a number of videos to his TikTok account featuring him in full uniform.
The most recent post on Silvester’s Facebook page — which came before the Marshal’s Office announced its review — links to a story about his James video from the conservative conspiracy website Gateway Pundit.
“Thanks to everyone who shared my video! It’s making the rounds. This is good. Keep it going,” Silvester wrote.
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