On Wednesday, the National Fraternal Order of Police condemned NBA superstar LeBron James for a social media post that targeted a Columbus, Ohio, law enforcement officer involved in the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant. FOP and Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods are making efforts to refocus public discourse around the shooting on facts, education, and the reality of this tragedy.
The FOP’s official Twitter account wrote, “@KingJames, with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in.”
“This is disgraceful & extremely reckless,” the FOP tweet continued. “The officer saved a young girl’s life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact.”
NBA star James had tweeted out a photo earlier on Wednesday of a police officer that could be viewed at the scene where an officer shot and killed teenager Ma’Khia Bryant.
In his since deleted tweet, James wrote, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
In the released footage from the police body cams, the now deceased girl is seen lunging at another girl with a raised knife before being fired upon by police.
The deceased was later identified by Franklin County Children Services and police as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was in foster care as the tragic incident unfolded.
After deleting his original controversial tweet, LeBron posted an explanation:
LeBron’s explanation, however, fails to mention the young black girl that was being attacked. The one whose life the officer’s actions might have saved.
The sad reality is that teen stabbings – or ‘knife fights’ as Democrats keep mentioning – can be fatal.
Another Ohio community was rocked by the death of a young black girl just one day before. 13-year-old girl Nyaira Givens died in her father’s arms after being stabbed in the neck by another 13 year-old girl in Winton Hills.
“I held her. I watched her as she died. I watched her, you know. All I could do was just hold her, hold her,” the young girl’s father, Maurice Jackson, told WLWT5.
Jackson that he tried his “best to protect her”. But it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, in this case, police did not arrive on the scene in time to prevent young Nyaira from being fatally stabbed.
There is a disturbing cultural norm on the rise – fueled by social media – where public sentiment has become “guilty until proven an innocent”. This is a significant departure from the fundamental American presumption of innocence principle.
These days, however, rarely do the masses wait for all of the information – or “facts” – before arriving at a value judgement.
This concerning trend extends to public figures and even elected officials. President Biden, Valerie Jarrett, Sherrod Brown, Ayanna Pressley, and more rushed to condemn the Columbus shooting.
In this case, however, even CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo felt the Columbus police officer’s actions were justified based on the body cam footage.
Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods told reporters during a press briefing on Wednesday, “It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a 16-year-old. I’m a father.”
“Her family is grieving,” Woods added. “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,” Chief Woods added.
We, as a people, echo Chief Woods’ wish. Any loss of life so young is tragic.
The National Fraternal Order of Police is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the U.S.
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