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An Idaho police department says the deputy marshal who went viral on TikTok for a video criticizing NBA star LeBron James does not represent the department’s views.
Deputy Marshal Nate Silvester posted a video last week that mocked James for his comments about a police shooting in Ohio. The Bellevue Marshal’s Office said in a statement posted to Facebook that it is aware of the “extreme controversy” surrounding the video, and that the department is handling the matter internally.
“The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal’s Office,” the post read. “The Bellevue Marshal’s Office always demands that our deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner.”
LeBron James, the star player for the Los Angeles Lakers, tweeted a photo last week of Columbus, Ohio, police officer Nicholas Reardon after the officer fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who is Black, four times. In the since-deleted tweet, James wrote “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The tweet appeared to reference the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of killing George Floyd just a day before the Ohio police shooting.
After the shooting, police released a body camera video that allegedly showed Bryant attacking another Black person with a knife.
In his video, Silvester, who is sitting in the driver’s seat of his patrol car, asks an imaginary person outside the car to put down a knife while he pretends to take a call from the NBA superstar.
“There’s a guy trying to stab another guy, what do you think I should do?” Silvester asks James.
He later implies that James asked what the race of the two people are, and responds by asking why that matters.
He later asks: “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?”
Before driving away, Silvester says: “I mean, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then again, you’re really good at basketball, so I guess I’ll take your word for it.”
The department said in the Facebook post that Silvester’s actions are “NOT how we expect our Deputies to act on duty or use city time.”
The post said the department is treating Silvester’s action as “a personnel matter.” It did not say whether Silvester is facing any disciplinary action.
A call to Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns and an email to Bellevue Marshal Mynde Heil were not immediately returned as of Thursday afternoon. A Facebook message to Silvester was also not immediately returned.
As of Thursday, the video had garnered over 4 million views, and Silvester’s TikTok account had roughly 231,000 followers.
Videos defend officer who confused gun with Taser
Silvester’s account also includes videos of him defending Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who was charged with second-degree manslaughter after the death of Daunte Wright. Potter reportedly confused her gun with her Taser prior to the shooting.
In another video, Silvester ignores what appears to be an imaginary fight occurring outside of his patrol car, with the phrase “when a pedophile is about to get his a** beat” visible on the screen.
According to a report from Newsweek, an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Silvester featured a video showing people lying in a street before depicting the inside of a car going over multiple bumps. The caption reportedly said “Me and the boys on our way to the (former President Donald) Trump rally.”