The Idaho deputy marshal whose viral video mocked NBA star LeBron James’ anti-police tweet on the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant was fired Thursday after a weeks-long suspension without pay.
Former deputy marshal Nate Silvester told Fox News that he was fired from the Bellevue Marshal’s Office because his video on LeBron “struck a political nerve” and that he was “the latest target of cancel culture.”
“I am the latest target of cancel culture, Sean. That’s all it is,” Silvester told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “None of my other videos that depicted me in my uniform or involving body camera footage, none of those mattered. They didn’t care about those. It wasn’t until my LeBron James TikTok struck a political nerve that they started to pay attention and complain about it and came up with forms of discipline.”
Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns contradicted Silvester’s assertions, writing in a Facebook post that the deputy marshal was fired due to violating “several clearly established City of Bellevue and State of Idaho Policing policies.”
“The policy violations have nothing to do with the tone or the tenor of his speech that he posts online. He was not terminated for the content of his speech; he was terminated for his failure to follow clearly laid out and well-established policy,” the mayor wrote.
The post did not specify which policies Silvester allegedly violated.
After the video went viral in April, the Marshal’s Office issued a statement pointing out the “extreme controversy” of Silvester’s comments.
“The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal’s Office,” the statement read. “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. This is a personnel issue that is being dealt with internally.”
In April, Silvester was prompted to post a video mocking James for his anti-cop comments on Twitter aimed at an Ohio cop who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant as she was attacking another teenaged girl with a knife.
“LeBron, hey, yeah it’s me again,” Silvester says, pretending to talk to James on the phone. “Listen, I’m out here at this disturbance call and there’s a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife. What do you think I should do?”
“Okay, well, they’re both Black,” the cop continues. “One guy is trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified.”
Silvester pauses as though he is listening to James, and then he adds, “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, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then again, you’re really good at basketball so I guess I’ll take your word for it.”
The cop then turns to speak out the window of his cruiser like he is addressing two men in a knife fight, saying, “Sorry guys, you’re on your own. Good luck.”
After his suspension, Silvester’s friend launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the loss of income the deputy is facing. The effort has surpassed $540,000 as of Tuesday, June 1. Silvester said some of the money will be donated to a charity that supports children who have lost parents in the line of duty. A portion of the funds will also go toward creating new content that “sheds a positive light on law enforcement.”