An Idaho police officer was fired from his job after he shared a video on TikTok mocking basketball star LeBron James and his reaction to the police shooting of a Black teen in Ohio late last month, the Daily Caller reported.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Nate Silvester claimed to be the latest “target of cancel culture” after he was let go from the Bellevue police department for what the city’s mayor later described as repeated “policy violations.”
“That’s all it is”
Speaking with Hannity, Silvester said he’d long been posting videos of himself in uniform on the social media platform without incident, but his recent TikTok post blasting James “struck a political nerve.”
“I am the latest target of cancel culture, Sean. That’s all it is,” he said, according to the Daily Caller.
“None of my other videos that depicted me in my uniform or involved body camera footage, none of those mattered,” Silvester added. “It wasn’t until my LeBron James TikTok struck a political nerve that they started to pay attention and complain about it and come up with forms of discipline.”
James, who currently plays for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, had posted a tweet back in April calling for “accountability” after 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot to death by a Columbus, Ohio police officer. “You’re next,” the tweet read in part, apparently taunting the cop involved, according to Fox.
James later deleted the tweet after facing heavy pushback, including from Silvester, who posted a TikTok in which he reportedly pretended to be talking on the phone with the NBA star at the same time that a fake stabbing was taking place outside of his police cruiser.
The video garnered millions of views and initially prompted the Bellevue Marshal’s Office to suspend Silvester, Fox reported.
“Continued policy violations”
He was later let go from the department for what Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns described as “continued policy violations,” though Burns insists those violations “have nothing to do with the tone or the tenor of [Silvester’s] speech that he posts online.”
“[H]e was terminated for his failure to follow clearly laid out, well-established policy,” the mayor said, according to the Daily Caller.
The Marshal’s Office said in an earlier statement “that Silvester’s video does not represent the department and that deputies are expected to communicate with citizens in a professional, friendly manner,” Fox reported.
According to the Daily Caller, Silvester promised Hannity on Thursday that he’d be meeting with his lawyer to discuss the situation.