The Bellevue, Idaho, police officer who posted a viral TikTok parody video about NBA star LeBron James and was suspended has now been fired from the department, according to a statement posted to Facebook by Bellevue’s mayor on Thursday.
“During the week of May 20th, while on shift Deputy Marshal [Nate] Silvester violated several clearly established City of Bellevue and State of Idaho Policing policies. After his previous policy violations Deputy Marshal Silvester was placed on probation and was on, what is called, a ‘last chance agreement’ with his superior officers,” Mayor Ned Burns said.
“Because of his continued policy violations, the Marshal has terminated Mr. Sylvester effective May 27th, 2021,” the mayor said.
“The policy violations have nothing to do with the tone or the tenor of his speech that he posts online. He was not terminated for the content of his speech; he was terminated for his failure to follow clearly laid out and well established policy,” Burns said in the post.
Some believe Silvester’s firing had more to do with his TikTok video than the statement reported.
One Facebook comment said, “What a joke… Bellevue just lost a great cop!!!! Get it together people and stop being such a push over.”
Another user wrote, “What a joke! Another hard working, life risking, life saving American being censored. So glad that an NBA player can threaten a cops life and continue on with his career, but a cop looses his job without a single threat made. This is what’s wrong with today’s America.”
The Los Angeles Lakers star later deleted the tweet, but others quickly reposted the concerning post.
LeBron James deleted this tweet but only after it had 39,000+ likes. The man in the photo saved a young black girl from another young black girl who was going to stab her in the neck. He did his job. Now @KingJames put a target on his back. Is the @NBA okay with this??? pic.twitter.com/QegzyySnsI
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 21, 2021
The tweet pictured the police officer who shot the Columbus teenager as she was attempting to stab another woman.
The text read, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Following Silvester’s suspension, he managed to raise over $500,000 via GoFundMe — and he planned to use it to give back as well as to survive.
The TikTok video received attention after it was shared on Twitter on April 25.
A policeman calls LeBron for advice in hilarious viral video pic.twitter.com/iQmLOKFXHr
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) April 25, 2021
The video portrayed Silvester calling in a request for James to call his car, followed by him urging a perp to “put the knife down please, sir. … Sir, don’t stab — no, no, stop stabbing, stop — hold on, hold on, it’s LeBron.”
“LeBron, hey, yeah, it’s me again,” Silvester said. “Listen, I’m out here at this disturbance call and there’s a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife. What do you think I should do?”
“LeBron” advised him that he should hold off, given that both of the individuals were black and the officer was white.
“OK, well, they’re both black. One guy is trying to stab another guy with a knife,” Silvester said in the video. “Deadly force is completely justified.”
“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?” he asked.
“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.”
Days later, the Bellevue Marshal’s Office posted a statement to Facebook in which it responded to the “extreme controversy” surrounding Silvester’s viral TikTok.
“The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal’s Office. The Bellevue Marshal’s Office always demands that our Deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner,” the statement said.
“This is NOT how we expect our Deputies to act on duty or use city time.”
The department added that it was a “personnel issue that is being dealt with internally.”
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