LeBron James Faced Backlash From The Usual Suspects For A Since Deleted Tweet About Ma’Khia Bryant’s Killing

On Tuesday afternoon, a jury in Minneapolis handed down a guilty verdict on all three charges — second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter — faced by former police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd last year. It was a rare murder conviction for a police officer and many hoped it would lead to more accountability for officers who use excessive and at times lethal force, so often with Black citizens.

However, anyone under the impression the Chauvin conviction was going to create some immediate, widespread change was quickly reminded of reality when hours later a Columbus, Ohio police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. The body cam footage showed Bryant holding a knife while in an altercation with someone when officer Nicholas Reardon fired four shots and killed the 16-year-old girl. On Wednesday, when that footage came out, LeBron James tweeted a photo of Reardon with the caption “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” While the accountability hashtag should’ve made clear that he was speaking of Reardon also facing trial and being found guilty of murder, many on the right used his tweet to claim he was calling for violence.

Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Sean Hannity, Lauren Boebert, and countless others went after James, who later deleted the tweet and explained his anger and frustration, while also making clear that he was speaking of the officer being held accountable for killing someone and not advocating for violence.

James’ propensity for speaking out on social issues has made him a regular target of the right, who famously want him to “stick to sports.” That his initial tweet be misconstrued by bad-faith actors comes as little surprise and James seemed to recognize that wasn’t going to stop, so he took down the tweet and offered a more thorough explanation that this remains a systemic issue and that accountability is necessary but moreso is change systemically to prevent these killings in the first place.

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