Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James responded to the backlash he received after he tweeted a photo of the police officer who fatally shot Ohio teenager Ma’Khia Bryant with the caption "you're next #accountability.”
Mr James explained why he took down the tweet. “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. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” James said Wednesday evening.
Columbus police identified the officer who fired the shots that killed the 16-year-old girl as Nicholas Reardon. The shooting, which occurred on the same day as the verdict in George Floyd’s case was announced, has sparked protests and renewed calls for justice.
In another tweet, Mr James said: “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!”
James had earlier responded to Derek Chauvin being found guilty with one word: “Accountability.”
Police have released the body camera footage of the shooting of the 16-year-old girl as well as the audio from two 911 calls. Interim Columbus police chief Michael Woods said the officers were responding to a 911 call from someone who reported an attempted stabbing.
The video showed officers approaching a driveway of the home they had been called to. There were several women in the driveway, and one of them, now identified as Bryant, had a knife in her hand and was charging towards another woman.
When the woman fell to the ground, the teenager could be seen turning towards another woman. A Reuters account said a slow motion replay showed the second woman against a car parked in the driveway, and Bryant raised the weapon as if to stab her. The officer then fired his weapon and four shots were heard in the video.
The police chief said the video was released within hours in the interest of "transparency."
The US president, Joe Biden, has been briefed about the fatal shooting and White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the it “tragic.”