Over $440,000 Raised for Suspended Idaho Officer Who Pretended to Call LeBron James in Viral Video

Update: Bellevue Marshal deputy Nate Silvester told KTVB that he will return to work on Thursday.

Original Article: 

A police officer in Idaho has gathered over $440,000 in donations after reportedly being suspended for a video that went viral in relation to the death of Ma’Khia Bryant, a teenager in Ohio who was fatally shot.

The suspension of Bellevue Marshal’s Office Deputy Nate Silvester hasn’t been officially announced, but it was mentioned in a GoFundMe fundraiser, where hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised in less than a week’s time.

“The recent viral TikTok video of a cop calling out Lebron James has cost the cop, my best friend in the world, Officer Nate Silvester a suspension without pay,” the organizer of the page wrote.

“He’s still got his job for now, but apparently the town where he polices didn’t find his TikTok as amazingly comical, and accurate as the 4.5 million viewers did, including some major news networks.”

The office Silvester is policing for has said in a statement they are aware of the “controversy” regarding the deputies’ viral video, saying the officer his views do not represent the Bellevue Marshal’s Office.

“The Bellevue Marshal’s Office always demands that our Deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner,” the police force said. “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.”

The video Silvester posted on TikTok criticized Los Angeles Lakers and NBA basketball star LeBron James, who recently commented on a police-involved shooting involving 16-year-old Bryant.

James wrote in a since-deleted post on Twitter in full captions: “YOU’RE NEXT,” along with a picture of Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon, who fatally shot the teenager who was engaged in a fight with another girl.

Body camera and surveillance footage of the incident showed that the girl was armed with a knife and appeared to be on the verge of stabbing the other girl at the time Reardon fired at her. She was hospitalized with critical injuries and later died.

James, 36, who has frequently posted about alleged racism and police misconduct, deleted the tweet amid backlash from some in his 49 million follower base.

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center in New York City on Dec. 18, 2018. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

In the viral video, Silvester sat inside his police vehicle and performed a skit titled, “here we go again.”

“Dispatch, I have arrived,” Silvester said, pretending to talk on his police radio. “Excuse me, sir, can you put the knife down please, sir?” Silvester said in the video, indicating that one of the off-screen characters in the skit was holding a knife.

He then pretends to call James, asking for advice on how he should respond to the person holding a knife trying to stab someone.

“Listen, I’m out here at a disturbance call, and there’s a guy trying to stab another guy with a knife. What do you think I should do?” Silvester pretends to ask.

He also said, “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, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then again you are really good at basketball so I guess I’ll take your word for it,” he says.

Toward the end of the clip, he thanked James, hangs up the phone, and tells the fictional people outside his vehicle: “Sorry, guys, you’re on your own. Good luck!”