Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, criticised Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva for asking LeBron James to match a $175,000 reward offered to find a gunman that shot two deputies in Compton over the weekend.
Ms Bryant posted her response to the challenge - as well as a flurry of criticism aimed at the sheriff - in a series of Instagram posts on Monday.
In one of her posts, she shared a critical tweet from a writer with the Twitter handle @ElanMaree.
"[Mr Villanueva] shouldn't be challenging LeBron James to match a reward or 'step up to the plate.' He couldn't even 'step up to the plate' and hold his deputies accountable for photographing dead children," the post said.
The "dead children" refers to a lawsuit Ms Bryant filed against the sheriff's office in May alleging deputies responding to the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter were taking photos of the bodies for their own use.
"No fewer than eight sheriff's deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches," the claim reads. "As the department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes."
Ms Bryant also shared an article from The Hollywood Reporter that claimed the union representing deputies in the LA County Sheriff's Department was suing Mr Villanueva to keep an internal investigation into the distribution of the crash scene photos out of the public eye.
She shared another post by @ElanMareee, which attacked Mr Villanueva’s exhortation to the public to put their trust in the criminal justice system.
How can he talk about trusting the system? His sheriff’s dept. couldn’t be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them. https://t.co/X48h2h4MNv
— Elan (@ElanMaree) September 15, 2020
"How can he talk about trusting the system?" asked @ElanMaree. "His sheriff's department couldn't be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant's helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them."
The sheriff challenged Mr James to match the reward for information leading to the arrest of a gunman who shot two deputies in Compton presumably because of the basketball superstar's outspoken support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mr Villanueva made his challenge on a local radio program in Los Angeles.
"This challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match that and double that reward," Mr Villanueva said. "I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community.
"And I appreciated that," he continued. "But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions."
His rationale for challenging Mr James suggests that Mr Villanueva blames recent protests against police brutality and systemic racism in law enforcement for the Compton shootings.
However, whistleblower reports of deputy gangs within the LA County Sheriff's Department that terrorise the populace and sport Nazi tattoos suggest the relationship between the deputies and the populace may have been strained long before the police killing of George Floyd.