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LeBron: Deleted tweet about Columbus officer was ‘being used to create more hate’

NBA star LeBron James on Wednesday responded to backlash over a now-deleted tweet calling for legal accountability in the fatal police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio, saying that he removed the message because it was “being used to create more hate.”

James in his initial tweet Wednesday included a photo of Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon, who has been identified as the one who shot and killed Bryant while responding to a fight in which she was involved. 

James argued that the shooting, which came just minutes before a Minneapolis jury found former officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in George Floyd’s murder, should prompt further responses, writing, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” 

The Los Angeles Lakers star deleted the tweet after it drew criticism from social media users, including Republican lawmakers, and added in a later post that he was “so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police.” 

“I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate,” James wrote. 

“This isn’t about one officer,” the basketball player continued. “It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism.” 

“I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” he added. 

James in another tweet Wednesday wrote, “ANGER does 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,” he continued. “My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”

Among the criticism for James’s initial tweet was a post from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who argued that James was inciting violence against Reardon. 

“This is disgraceful and dangerous,” he wrote Wednesday. “Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?”

Body camera footage from the fatal incident with Bryant shows Reardon approaching the girl. 

Shortly after the officers arrived, Bryant is seen wielding a knife at another person and the officer fires his weapon four times, hitting the 16-year-old.

Tags anti-police brutality Derek Chauvin George Floyd Lebron James Los Angeles Lakers Ma'khia Bryant NBA Ohio Tom Cotton Twitter

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