A formal complaint has been filed by a citizen against a Bellevue police officer whose video mocking basketball star LeBron James went viral on the internet last weekend, Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns confirmed Tuesday.
The video posted by Deputy Marshal Nate Silvester last Thursday had received 3.9 million views on the video app TikTok as of Tuesday afternoon and had been shared to other social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. In it, Silvester pretends to consult with James on the phone while watching an attempted stabbing outside his car window; the video appears to be a response to a tweet by James last week criticizing the fatal police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio.
A citizen filed a complaint against Silvester with the Marshal’s Office on Monday, Burns told the Idaho Mountain Express on Tuesday. Burns did not expand on the nature of the complaint and said he could not say whether Silvester had been suspended while the complaint is under investigation, referring the Express to the Marshal’s Office for questions about suspension protocol.
“I’m confident that [Marshal Mynde Heil] will be handling the situation,” Burns said in a text message to the Express.
The Bellevue Marshal’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
In the video posted on TikTok last week, Silvester pretends to call James for advice while a fictional attempted stabbing takes place outside his car window. The video opens with Silvester reporting a disturbance to dispatch, wearing his uniform, and asking the dispatcher to “have LeBron call my cell phone right away.”
“Excuse me sir, can you put the knife down please?” Silvester calls out the window to the fictional attempted stabber. “Sir, no, don’t stab him, stop stabbing him.”
Silvester then pretends to answer a call from James, holding his cell phone up to his ear.
“Lebron? It’s me again,” Silvester says. “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 pauses while pretending to listen to James talk, then says: “Well, why does that matter?” Another pause. “Okay, well, they’re both black. One guy’s trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified.”
After another pause, Silvester says: “Uh-huh. I see. 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.”
Silvester has posted videos regularly on TikTok in recent months: he has posted 56 videos since December, many of which revolve around his work as a law enforcement officer and feature him wearing his uniform. He has roughly 192,000 followers on the platform.