WASHINGTON — The police union that represents officers from the Los Angeles Police Department has sent a letter to the NBA asking the league to investigate LeBron James for his now-deleted tweet about the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio.
Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed the same day that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, sparking immediate outrage. Bodycam footage from the incident shows that Officer Nicholas Reardon shot Bryant four times as she was swinging a knife at another girl during an altercation.
James' initial tweet read "YOU'RE NEXT #Accountability," along with an hourglass emoji and a picture of Reardon. Before that, James had tweeted "ACCOUNTABILITY" after Chauvin was found guilty.
Within a few hours, James deleted the tweet, later explaining that it was being used to spread more hate.
During an interview on Fox News, Detective Jamie McBride, a member of the board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, claimed the NBA superstar was a "hypocrite" and accused him of “inciting violence…towards police officers.”
The union letter formally asks NBA commissioner Adam Silver to launch an investigation to see if James' tweet violated any league policies.
Other individuals and police organizations have criticized James's tweet publicly. An Idaho police officer posted a TikTok mocking LeBron James, which went viral.
O.J. Simpson also weighed in, praising the NBA star for the work he has done for social justice and to fight systemic racism, but added that James needs to "pick your battles" and should have waited for more information before commenting.
"@KingJames, with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in," the National Fraternal Order of Police posted from its Twitter account on Wednesday night. "This is disgraceful & extremely reckless. The officer saved a young girl's life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact."
WKYC's Hope Sloop and Ben Axelrod contributed to this report.