On Wednesday, April 21, NBA star LeBron James shared and later deleted a post he made on Twitter regarding the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Shortly afterward, the Los Angeles Lakers star revealed why in a series of tweets.
The initial now-deleted post shared by James featured a photo of white Columbus police Officer Nicholas Reardon with the caption “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” along with an hourglass emoji. Some critics felt that the athlete’s post “could be read as an incitement to violence” against the officer who arrived on the scene where police had been called to respond to an apparent melee.
Later that same night, James removed the post and explained as to why, stating, “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer.” He added, “It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The 36-year-old followed up with another post, writing, “ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail! 🙏🏾✊🏾 ❤️👑.”
There have been several versions reported as to what took place when Bryant called authorities to her location in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, April 20, just about 125 miles northeast from James’ hometown of Akron.
However, the Columbus Division of Police released body camera footage that showed Reardon getting out of his car at the 3100 block of Legion Lane, where police had been dispatched about an attempted stabbing.
As the officer walked towards the group of people on the driveway, Bryant could be seen with a knife in her right hand and lunging at another girl or woman who later fell to the ground. Reardon shouted “get down” four times and then opened fire, shooting Bryant four times as she appeared to attempt to pounce at a second person. The 16-year-old then slumped to the ground with the knife by her side while authorities called for medical assistance. She was later taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Bryant’s shooting occurred on the same day a jury found former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.