As reported earlier today, LeBron James posted a Tweet to his almost 50 million followers which had the words “You’re Next” and “Accountability” along with a picture of the Columbus Police Department Officer who stopped a female knife-wielding attacker from stabbing a second female in a fight in the driveway of a residence.
I posted the original story late last night after the Columbus Police Department released the bodycam video of the incident.
Before and after the bodycam video obtained wide circulation on social media, there were all manner of inaccurate claims about the circumstances of the shooting — many of which involved claims that the deceased girl was “unarmed”.
Others claim that the girl who was shot was the girl who actually called the police, and that she had been threatened by someone else with a knife before the police arrived.
The claim that she was unarmed is patently false, and it’s contradicted by the video.
The claim that she was the original “victim” who called for help from the police is irrelevant because at the moment she was shot she was clearly the aggressor armed with a deadly weapon and in the process of assaulting the girl in the pink outfit.
The Officer was faced with a “Shoot/Don’t Shoot” situation where the threat wasn’t to himself but to someone who was an innocent bystander for all he knew. The video shows he was the first officer on the scene and less than 10 seconds elapsed from the moment he stepped out of his car until he fired the fatal shots as the deceased girl was about to stab her intended victim.
While James deleted the original tweet, he posted a replacement that simply says “ACCOUNTABILITY.” Here is what it looks like now.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 20, 2021
There are now nearly 4,000 comments under this Tweet, many of which are harshly critical of James’ original tweet and the threat it posed to the officer. Here are just a few examples:
That officer saved 2 girls lives yesterday. You should be calling him a hero. You should be calling out that man that kicked that girl in the head… Shame on you for using your platform to try to divide us.. THAT OFFICER IS A HERO… pic.twitter.com/Z9lCpLcf2g
— Randy Mullins (@Rhmullins18) April 21, 2021
They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Why should a police officer have to risk his life (and potential freedom) for some violent 15 year old with a knife. In that video a grown man kicks a child in the head, but no one has addressed that. We are lost.
— ATXfisherwoman (@ATXfisherwoman) April 21, 2021
That cop is a hero. He saved lives pic.twitter.com/vDLQE8UDQV
— NFT Finds (@NFTfinds) April 21, 2021
There are plenty of comments under the Tweet that are completely supportive of what James did. But, James did delete the Tweet with the implied threat to the Officer and his picture. Maybe he did so for the right reasons, or maybe he feared a lawsuit from the Officer whose safety was certainly put in jeopardy by James’ actions.
Whatever his motives, the public discourse and dialogue over what happened in Columbus would have been better served if someone of LeBron James’ notoriety had waited for more facts to become known before putting a spark to the tinderbox with such a provocative note.
What will be the “accountability” for you, LeBron? Will you get a message to the parents of the girl in pink and let them know you do not wish that harm had come to her at the hands of the deceased girl?
If that is how you feel, and if the only way to have prevented that harm in that split second the officer had to decide what to do was to take exactly that action he took, will you issue an acknowledgment of that fact and apology to the Officer?
Accountability? Yeah — that’s a good issue.
But focus inward first, LeBron — before you judge the actions of others.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece has been edited to reflect that James deleted one tweet and posted a new one, and didn’t edit his first Tweet since Twitter doesn’t provide an edit function.)