Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James posted and later deleted a tweet on Wednesday about a police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio.
In the since-deleted tweet, James wrote “YOU’RE NEXT” with an hourglass emoji and #ACCOUNTABILITY at the end above a picture of Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon, who shot Bryant while responding to a 911 call.
James’s tweet was not well-received by some on Twitter
particularly conservatives: Sen. Tom Cotton and Candace Owens, for example, criticized James for the tweet. The NBA star later deleted it, explaining in a series of follow-up tweets that he did so because “it’s being used to create more hate.”
Officials with the Columbus Division of Police released footage of the shooting Tuesday night just a few hours after it happened. The officer was responding to a 911 call saying a person was being physically threatened. According to analysis from the Associated Press, this is how the events of that night occurred:
Officer Reardon took a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another female — the officer then shouted several times to get down. The officer fired four shots, and a man immediately yells at the officer, “You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a kid, man!”
The officer responded, “She had a knife. She just went at her.”
The fatal shooting of Bryant on Tuesday occurred shortly after a jury in Minneapolis found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter for the killing of Black man George Floyd.
Shortly after that verdict was announced, LeBron James tweeted one word, “accountability.”
LeBron James was born and spent his childhood years in Ohio, where the Ma’Khia Bryant took place.
James has not been shy about speaking about social causes he cares about, and has even endorsed presidential candidates in the last two general elections.