LeBron James responded to the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in South Columbus, Ohio, with an image of the alleged officer Nicholas Reardon posted on Twitter on Wednesday, quote “YOU’RE NEXT #ACOUNTABILITY.” The NBA star deleted the tweet later. 

When the first words of the incident floated around on Tuesday, many quickly judged that it was another unjust police shooting aiming at citizens of black skin color.

The police department had to break conventional protocols and released bodycam footage at the scene soon after the commotion, showing Bryant with a knife in her hand chasing two other girls and not having any intention of dropping her pursuit when officers arrived. Bryant continued trying to stab them, forcing an immediate response from the law enforcement forces. 

The footage indicated that it was a highly critical situation in which to choose another method to deter Bryant from injuring the other girl. A moment’s hesitation and Bryant may have succeeded in her attempt, and there would be no promise on the victim’s condition afterward. 

“We’ve worked very hard tonight to provide you a short video of the officer, the first officer that arrived at scene and this is the officer that did ultimately fire his weapon,” said Michael Woods, Columbus Police Chief. 

The officer’s action was an effort to save the other girl from Bryant’s knife. In a press conference, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said of the video, “we know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” while sharing his sorrow for the teenager’s death.

“I’m not just the mayor, I’m a father. The city of Columbus lost a 16-year-old girl today,” he said. 

Yet, despite the indisputable proof, BLM activists still carried on with the other narrative that Bryant was killed wrongfully. Protesters still dubbed her death a “murder” in a demonstration shortly after the dashcam release. 

Then came LeBron James’ tweet on Wednesday. It was not certain that the NBA star had viewed the police bodycam or caught up with the shooting details when he tweeted the following, clearly indicating his condemnation over officer Readon. 

Screenshot of LeBron Jame’s deleted Tweet over the Ohio shooting on April 20, the post came out the following day (@GLFOP/Twitter)

The National Fraternal Order of Police criticized James’ tweet with the screenshot, saying he has a public voice with his position. Hence the star should be more careful of the facts when he speaks. “This is disgraceful & extremely reckless.” 

“The officer saved a young girl’s life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact,” the tweet ended. 

The NBA Champion removed the tweet. Later, in a tweet explaining the removal, he continued to say, “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” still carrying hints with viewers that the Ohio shooting was another black oppression incident. 

Thankfully, James finally updated the full facts around Ma’Khia Bryant’s death. In another follow-up tweet, he admitted the two previous comments on the case were an instant response governed by his emotion. 

The death of Bryant was unfortunate, no matter what the teenager may have done that caused her fatal shot. In another scenario, it would be desirable if the police were able, under pressure, to think of a safer approach to ensure the lives of all at the scene. 

However, the police would also be at fault if they did not take immediate action when confronted with an individual attempting to stab another while ignoring all cautions to stop.