LeBron James: what did police officer Nate Silvester say about the NBA star on TikTok - and why was he fired?
TikTok video shot by Nate Silvester received millions of views
An American police officer has been fired after a TikTok video mocking NBA star LeBron James went viral.
Nate Silvester, who was a deputy marshal in the Idaho city of Bellevue, shot a skit in uniform pretending to be on the phone to the LA Lakers basketball player.
Mr Silvester sought advice on what to do at the scene of a mock disturbance in response to a Twitter post Mr James put up and later deleted after a separate stabbing incident.
The incident Mr James commented on was when an Ohio enforcement officer shot and killed teenager Ma’Khia Bryant as she attempted to stab another woman during a dispute.
What did Nate Silvester say?
In a TikTok video, Mr Silvester pretends to call LeBron James seeking advice on what to do at the scene of a mock disturbance in reference to that shooting.
“Can I have LeBron call my cell phone right away please,” Mr Silvester says.
He turns to seemingly speak to someone outside the car to tell them to “put the knife down”, adding “no, stop stabbing, hold on, it’s LeBron”.
Answering his phone, Mr Silvester says: “LeBron, hey, yeah it’s me again. Listen I’m out here responding to a disturbance call and there’s a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife.
“What do you think I should do?”
“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.
“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.”
Mr Silvester adds at the end of the video: “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.”
Why has Nate Silvester been fired?
Shortly after the video was uploaded to TikTok, Mr Silvester was suspended from his post.
Now, in a social media post made by Bellevue mayor Ned Burns, it has been confirmed that Mr Silvester has been fired by the Bellevue Marshals Office.
“The policy violations have nothing to do with the tone or the tenor of his speech that he posts online,” Mr Burns said. “He was not terminated for the content of his speech. He was terminated for his failure to follow clearly laid out and well established policy.”
What has Nate Silvester made of his dismissal?
Speaking to Fox News, Mr Silvester said he was “the latest target of cancel culture”.
"None of my other videos that depicted me in my uniform or involving body camera footage, none of those mattered,” Mr Silvester added.
“They didn't care about those. It wasn't until my LeBron James TikTok struck a political nerve that they started to pay attention and complain about it and came up with forms of discipline."
The video received millions of views from around the world.
Mr Silvester said he was considering legal action and a return to law enforcement in a different area. He is also working on a book titled Never Off Duty.