LeBron James has tweeted then deleted a post on the police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, after saying it was being “used to create more hate”.
Bryant, a 16-year-old black girl, was shot dead after being called to a house where a confrontation was taking place. The killing occurred shortly before the guilty verdict was announced over the police murder of George Floyd, a case that had brought international attention to such crimes.
James initially tweeted a photo on Tuesday night of the white police officer said to have killed Bryant along with the message: “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY” and an hourglass emoji. The NBA star had also tweeted “accountability” after the guilty verdict in the Floyd trial was announced.
I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
However, James later deleted the tweet on Wednesday. “ANGER does [not do] any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”, he wrote.
He added later: “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The initial tweet had received backlash in conservative circles and Republican senator Tom Cotton called it “dangerous and disgraceful”.
Police released bodycam footage of the shooting in which Bryant, who appeared to be holding a knife, clashed with two people before the officer shot at her four times. City authorities initially said the officer intervened to save the life of another girl who Bryant appeared to be closing in on.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Joe Biden had been briefed on the “tragic” shooting. “She was a child. We’re thinking of her friends and family, in the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss,” Psaki said.
The county where Bryant was shot dead has one of highest rates of fatal police shootings in the US, according to a recent study.
The Ohio Alliance for innovation in population health released a study in February this year that found 38 people were shot and killed by police in Franklin county, home to about 1.3 million people, between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2020.
An average of 4.81 per million people were killed in the county, according to the Alliance – the 18th highest rate of fatal police shootings among America’s 100 most populous counties.