On Wednesday, Lakers star LeBron James posted and then deleted a tweet addressing the fatal police shooting of 16-year-old Black girl Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. In the tweet, James shared a photo of the officer, Nicholas Reardon, along with the caption, "YOU'RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY," with an hourglass emoji included.
James explained his reasons for taking down the tweet in a series of follow-ups:
A video released by the Columbus Division of Police shows Reardon's body camera footage, which captured him arriving on the scene after someone called 9-1-1 saying they were being physically threatened.
As he approaches a group of people involved in a physical dispute in a driveway, Bryant is seen swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls to the ground. Reardon shouts several times to get down, then Bryant charges at another girl or woman pinned up against a car.
Reardon fires four close-range shots from a few feet away and Bryant falls to the ground, and the knife lies on the sidewalk next to her. Bryant was later taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
James is from Akron, Ohio, which is about 125 miles northeast of Columbus. The shooting occurred shortly after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods called the incident a tragedy.
“There’s no other way to say it. It’s a 16-year-old. I’m a father,” Woods said, per Farnoush Amiri and Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press. “Her family is grieving. Regardless of the circumstances associated with this, a 16-year-old lost her life yesterday. ... I sure as hell wish it wouldn’t have happened."