Idaho police officer whose viral video mocked LeBron James gets fired, as city mayor calls for ‘calm and understanding’
Nate Silvester, the Idaho deputy marshal whose video mocking LeBron James garnered 6 million views on TikTok, has been fired from his job in a move so controversial that the local mayor is calling for “calm and understanding.”
Bellevue, Idaho Mayor Ned Burns announced the officer’s firing on Thursday, saying the decision was made by Silvester's superiors and that deputy was terminated for repeated policy violations, not for the tone or content of his online speech.
We wish Mr. Silvester the best, and we ask for calm and understanding.
The firing was effective immediately and followed a one-week suspension and investigation that began late last month, after Silvester posted his satirical video. Burns didn't specify any of the alleged policy violations, but media outlets had raised questions over the deputy's posting videos of himself in full uniform.
When the officer was first suspended, the Bellevue Marshal's Office insisted Silvester's speech didn't represent the views of his employer. “The Bellevue Marshal's Office always demands that our deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner,” it said in a statement. “This is not how we expect our deputies to act on duty or use any city time. This is a personnel issue that is being dealt with internally.”Also on rt.com ‘You're next’: NBA star and Biden supporter LeBron James ripped for seemingly threatening officer in Ma’Khia Bryant shooting
The video showed Silvester in uniform pretending to respond to a stabbing incident. The officer called for advice from NBA star James and explained that a black man was trying to stab another black man. He tried to explain why deadly force was justified, but ‘James’ advised otherwise.
“Uh-huh, I see,” Silvester said. “So you don't care if a black person kills another black person, but you do care if a white cop kills a black person, even if he's doing it to save the life of another black person? I mean, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but then again you are really good at basketball, so I guess I'll take your word for it.”
After saying goodbye to ‘James,’ he addressed the make-believe men from his squad car, saying “Sorry guys, you're on your own. Good luck.”
Good morning. This is great. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/nfCaEOhedR— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) April 26, 2021
The deputy's skit came in response to an April 21 Twitter post by James, seemingly threatening the Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot black teenager Ma'Khia Bryant as she drew a knife to stab another black female. The basketball player's tweet, which he later deleted, showed a picture of the officer and a caption saying “You're next.”Also on rt.com Fundraiser for Idaho deputy who was suspended for viral video mocking LeBron James nets $310K as donors rally to defend police
Silvester's firing apparently won't ruin the deputy financially. A friend, Gannon Ward, launched a GoFundMe campaign after Silvester was suspended without pay, seeking to raise $150,000. As of Thursday, the fundraiser had garnered more than $521,000. The money will go directly to Silvester, who has said that he plans to donate some of it to a police charity and create a scholarship fund to help officers who have lost their jobs unfairly.
Ward said on Thursday that he believes Burns had been “gunning” to fire Silvester since the LeBron James video went viral, though the mayor maintained the officer’s firing “was not influenced in any way by me or by the City Council.”
Earlier this month, Silvester also announced that he had signed a book deal with Di Angelo Publications. His working title is “Never Off Duty.”
“The whole point of my TikTok account is to humanize the badge and help shed a positive light on law enforcement that some people don't get to see,” Silvester said in a follow-up video. “This book is going to further that cause and help educate people like LeBron James and others, who have a very limited understanding of police officers and the work that they do.”Also on rt.com US chain challenged over freedom of speech after coffee shop owner is canceled for taking aim at NBA’s LeBron James on Facebook
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