Nate Silvester: Officer who mocked LeBron James in viral TikTok video suspended without pay, claims friend
A GoFundMe page claims that a police officer whose TikTok video on LeBron James went viral has been suspended without pay. While the campaign, created by a person called Gannon Ward, says that his friend Nate Silvester, the police officer in the Marshal's Office in Bellevue, Idaho, has been suspended, his office said the matter is being dealt "internally".
Los Angeles Lakers' James was accused of threatening the life of Ohio police officer Nicholas Reardon, who fatally shot Ma'Khia Bryant. James shared on Twitter, and later deleted, a photo of the officer and declared, "You’re next. #ACCOUNTABILITY." Following that, police officers began mocking James with videos posted on social media in which they pretended to call and ask him how to diffuse different situations they encounter when responding to 911 calls. Silvester’s video was one of the more popular ones in that genre.
The GoFundMe reads: “He’s still got his job for now, but apparently the town where he polices didn’t find his TikTok as amazingly comical, and accurate as the 4.5 million viewers did, including some major news networks. The future is uncertain. I just don’t want to see my friend lose out on any money for this when it was meant to be satirical and to point out an obvious flaw in Lebron’s logic. Please donate what you can contribute. Every dollar helps! Thanks!!”
According to a report in the Idaho Mountain Express, a formal complaint has been filed by a citizen against Silvester, Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said on Tuesday, April 27. Burns did not reportedly expand on the nature of the complaint and said that he could not say whether Silvester had been suspended while the complaint is under investigation.
The same day, the Marshal's office issued a statement that said, “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 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. This is a personnel issue that is being dealt with internally.”
The statement added, “We would like to thank everyone that took the time to reach out to us. We greatly value our relationship within our wonderful community.”
The video in question shows Silvester arriving at a scene and calling dispatch. "Dispatch, I've arrived at that disturbance. Will you have LeBron call my cellphone right away, please? Thank you," Silvester says.
The officer, from inside his car, speaks to unseen people outside his window and asks a person to "put down a knife." He then tells them to hold on, as LeBron "was calling his phone". "LeBron, hey, yeah it's me again," Silvester says. "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?"
Silvester then asks, "Why does that matter?", adding after a bit, "Okay, well, they're both Black. One guy is trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified." Silvester pauses and then says, "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, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but then again, you're really good at basketball so I guess I'll take your word for it."
The GoFundMe campaign has so far raised $54,073 of the $60,000 goal.