By Weston Blasi
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 /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +1.68% , 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 .
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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.
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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.