Belleview, ID – A Belleview deputy marshal has been suspended without pay after who mocking NBA star LeBron James in a TikTok video that quickly went viral.
Belleview Deputy Marshal Nate Silvester posted the footage to the video-sharing app on April 22, just one day after the Los Angeles Lakers star posted a still photo of the Columbus police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant as she was trying to stab another girl, the Idaho Mountain Express reported.
The Columbus Division of Police has since identified the officer as Officer Nicholas Reardon, according to WBNS.
James captioned the picture of Officer Reardon – “YOU’RE NEXT” – followed by an hourglass that implied a countdown, and the hashtag “#ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The since-deleted tweet sparked immediate outrage on social media, including from a number of professional athletes.
Deputy Marshal Silvester was one of many law enforcement officers who posted short video clips showing themselves pretending to reach out to the NBA star for advice on how to handle an array of urgent situations.
“Dispatch, I’ve arrived at that disturbance,” the deputy marshal said as he sat in his patrol vehicle with his radio in his hand. “Can you have LeBron call my cell phone right away please? Thank you.”
Deputy Marshal Silvester then rolled down his window and reservedly asked someone outside to put down a weapon.
“Excuse me, sir. Excuse me. No, can you put the knife down please sir?” he asked. “No, sir – don’t stab him. No, stop stabbing – oh hold on. Hold on, it’s LeBron.”
The deputy marshal then focused his attention on his pretend cell phone call with James.
“Yeah, it’s me again,” he told the NBA star. “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?”
Deputy Marshal Silvester then acted as if James asked him what color skin the individuals had.
“Why does that matter?” he asked. “Well, okay, they’re both black.”
Deputy Marshal Silvester noted that deadly force would be completely justified due to the fact that the suspect was actively trying to stab the victim, then paused as if he was listening to instructions from the other end of the line.
“I see. 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?” he asked.
“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,” the deputy marshal said. “Alright, thanks LeBron.”
He then waved out his window and told the pretend suspect and victim that they were on their own.
“Good luck!” he said.
The original video has been viewed more than 4.2 million times so far.
— GuidoFawkes (@GuidoFawkes1976) April 24, 2021
Belleview Mayor Ned Burns confirmed Tuesday that a citizen filed a complaint against Deputy Marshal Silvester over the TikTok video on Monday, the Idaho Mountain Express reported.
Burns would not comment on whether or not the deputy marshal has been placed on leave, but said he is confident Bellevue Marshal Mynde Heil “will be handling the situation,” according to the paper.
The deputy marshal was ultimately suspended without pay, according to MEAWW.
Deputy Marshal Silvester said in a recent interview that the officer who fatally shot Bryant “did the right thing” and that he doesn’t deserve to be “crucified by people like LeBron James,” KTVB reported.
“I feel as though we have a responsibility to speak out against things like that,” he said. “Somebody has to be the voice for law enforcement, we don’t necessarily have a voice.”
“That officer in Columbus, Ohio, he was forced to make a terrible choice, he did his duty that day, he did the right thing and he should have been commended and not crucified by people like LeBron James,” the deputy marshal continued.
He noted that Officer Reardon was forced to make a split-second decision under horrific circumstances.
“He was put in an awful, terrible position and it’s tragic what happened but that doesn’t mean it’s not justified,” Deputy Marshal Silvester told KTVB. “Most people in this country don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer, they don’t know what it’s like to be in a stressful position like that.”
Deputy Marshal Silvester has posted a slew of TikTok videos in the past showing him in uniform discussing law enforcement work.
He has over 205,000 followers.
A GoFundMe was started for the suspended deputy marshal and has raised over $100,000 as of Thursday afternoon.