LeBron James deletes tweet about Columbus police shooting after backlash
Los Angeles, California - Shortly after Twitter-dunking on former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin following his murder conviction, LeBron James took aim at another police officer.
But in the latter case, which happened in James' home state of Ohio, instant replay may have reversed a controversial call.
On Tuesday, the 36-year-old Akron native tweeted in all caps "ACCOUNTABILITY" following Chauvin’s conviction for killing George Floyd. A short time later, after Ma'Khia Bryant was shot dead in Columbus, Ohio, James tweeted again, this time writing, "YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY," along with a photo of a police officer at the scene of that shooting.
Ohio news station WKYC Studios reports that tweet was taken down Wednesday after video footage from a police officer’s body-cam appeared to show 16-year-old Ma'Khia armed with a knife and involved in a violent confrontation to which cops had been called.
Several shots were fired, killing her. A knife was found by her body. The case is still under investigation.
James’ tweet reportedly got 5,000 replies before it was removed.
LeBron James explains decision to delete tweet
Former baseball players Lenny Dykstra and Aubrey Huff came out swinging at James Wednesday.
"Many of us appreciate what LEO’s do," tweeted Dykstra, who has had several run-ins with law enforcement officers.
Huff also blasted James for his criticism of cops. Arkansas senator Tom Cotton wondered if James' tweet constituted a threat against a law enforcement officer that should be addressed by Twitter.
Officer Nicholas Reardon, who is white, has been identified as the cop who shot Ma’Khia Bryant. He has been a Columbus police officer since December 2019 and is being placed on administrative leave.
LeBron James later explained his decision to delete the initial tweet. "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!" he wrote on Twitter.
"I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate – This isn’t about one officer," he added. "I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY."
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire