Idaho cop Nate Silvester reinstated after being placed on leave for mocking LeBron James, lands book deal
Bellevue Marshall's Office deputy Nate Silvester was put on leave last Tuesday after he went viral on TikTok for mocking tweets made by the LA Lakers forward following the shooting death of Ma'Khia Bryant in Ohio
An Idaho cop returned to work on Thursday, May 6, after being placed on administrative leave for poking fun at NBA superstar LeBron James. What's more? He also landed a book deal in the process. Bellevue Marshall's Office Deputy Nate Silvester was put on leave last Tuesday, April 27, after he went viral on TikTok for mocking tweets made by the LA Lakers forward following the shooting death of Ma'Khia Bryant in Ohio.
James had threatened Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon, tweeting, "YOU'RE NEXT" alongside a photo of the officer, after he shot and killed Bryant in April when she endangered the lives of multiple civilians with a knife. However, James later said he regretted the tweet.
I fueled the wrong conversation about Ma’Khia Bryant and I owe it to her and this movement to change it. Thank you @fabiolacineas for educating us about Ma’Khia and her story and why this needs to be about her. https://t.co/Owh1vDJWXi #sayhername #Blacklivesmatter— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 3, 2021
As reported by KTVB, Silvester has since signed a book deal with Di Angelo Publications and the working title of it is Never Off Duty. The officer's April 24 video began with him sitting in his patrol car pretending to tell dispatchers to bring on LeBron James to address an imaginary disturbance outside of his vehicle.
"Excuse me sir, can you put the knife down please? Sir, no, don't stab him, stop stabbing him," Silvester said while looking out of the window. He subsequently told the fictional suspect to "Hold on, it's LeBron" while pretending to answer his phone.
"LeBron? Hey, yeah it's me again. Listen, I'm out here at a disturbance call, and there's a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife. What do you think I should do?" Silvester said in the video. He then pretended to listen to James and offered the following response.
"OK, well, they're both Black. One guy's trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified," Silvester declared, while portraying a similar scenario as that which led to Bryant's death.
"Uh-huh. I see. 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?" Silvester continued. "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," the officer quipped.
The Bellevue Marshall's Office blasted Silvester in a statement on Facebook after his video went viral. "The Bellevue Marshal's Office is aware of the extreme controversy regarding Deputy Marshal Silvester's viral TikTok. The statements made do not represent the Bellevue Marshal's Office," the agency wrote. "The Bellevue Marshal's Office always demands that our Deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner. This is NOT how we expect our Deputies to act on duty or use city time."
The agency said that Silvester's case was a "personnel issue" and was being dealt with internally. It later emerged that Silvester had been placed on administrative leave pending investigation.
Speaking to Idaho Mountain Express, Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said that Silvester will remain employed with the department. However, he disavowed the cop's video and said his actions went against departmental policies.
"[Silvester's action] does not comport well with city standards, particularly when he's on city time," Burns told the Mountain Express. "I think he's going to need to do some work to regain the confidence of some members of the community."
According to the outlet, Burns made another TikTok on Tuesday in which he declared he wasn't going to apologize for the controversial post. "I've been asked a few different times whether or not I regret posting the LeBron TikTok and if I think I should apologize. My answer? Unequivocally, hell no," Silvester declared in defiance.
A GoFundMe that was created to support Silvester after he was placed on leave has raised more than a staggering $500,000. Speaking to KTVB, the resinstated police officer said he would donate a portion of the proceeds to the First Responders Children's Foundation and use another portion to start a scholarship fund for displaced cops.