An Idaho police officer who was placed on administrative leave for mocking basketball star LeBron James returned to work on Thursday after landing a book deal, it has been revealed.
The Bellevue Marshall’s Office, the local police department, put deputy Nate Silvester on leave last Tuesday after he went viral on TikTok for mocking tweets the Los Angeles Laker had made after the shooting death of Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio.
The four-time NBA championship winner had tweeted ‘YOU’RE NEXT’ with a picture of Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon who shot and killed Bryant in April. He has since said he regretted the tweet.
Silvester has since signed a book deal with Di Angelo Publications and the working title of it is Never Off Duty, according to KTVB.
The police officer’s video, posted on April 24, begins with him sitting in his patrol car pretending to tell dispatchers to have LeBron James call his cell phone in relation to an imaginary disturbance outside of his vehicle.
Silvester’s video, posted on April 24, mocks LeBron James for a tweet he made after the shooting death of Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio. James had said ‘YOU’RE NEXT’ with a picture of Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon
LeBron James had tweeted ‘You’re next’ with a picture of the Ohio police officer who shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant
After the video went viral, the Bellevue Marshall’s Office blasted Silvester in a post made to Facebook
‘Excuse me sir, can you put the knife down please? ‘Sir, no, don’t stab him, stop stabbing him,’ Silvester says while looking out of the window.
He then tells the fictional suspect to ‘Hold on, it’s LeBron’ while answering 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 says in the video.
The cop then pretends to listen to James talk while asking him ‘what does that matter’ in relation to something the fictional James has said off camera.
‘OK, well, they’re both black. One guy’s trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified,’ Silvester says, portraying a similar series of events that led to Bryant’s death.
Silvester pauses before adding: ‘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?’
‘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,’ Silvester says.
After the video went viral, the Bellevue Marshall’s Office blasted Silvester in a post made to Facebook.
‘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 in its post.
‘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 police officer later posted another video saying that he would not apologize for the first video
The agency added that the ‘personnel issue’ was being dealt with internally and it was revealed that Silvester had been placed on leave.
Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns confirmed to the Idaho Mountain Express that Silvester will remain employed with the police department but said his video and actions went against departmental policies.
The cop was seen wearing his work uniform posting videos from inside his department-issued patrol car.
‘[Silvester’s action] does not comport well with city standards, particularly when he’s on city time,’ Burns told the Mountain Express.
He added: ‘I think he’s going to need to do some work to regain the confidence of some members of the community.’
The outlet noted that Burns made another video posted to TikTok on Tuesday in which he said he does not plan to apologize for the April 24 video.
‘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 said in the second video.
‘I fueled the wrong conversation about Ma’Khia Bryant and I owe it to her and this movement to change it,’ the Los Angeles Lakers forward wrote on Twitter
After Silvester was placed on leave, a GoFundMe was created to support him which has raised more than $500,000.
Silvester told KTVB that he will donate a portion of the funds raised to the First Responders Children’s Foundation and use another portion to create a scholarship fund for displaced police officers.
It was not immediately clear how much money Silvester plans to donate and how much he plans to keep.