Idaho cop whose TikTok mocked LeBron James over his Ma’Khia Bryant comments has raised $300,000

LeBron James cop
A GoFundMe campaign for an Idaho police officer who made a TikTok appearing to mock LeBron James has raised around $300,000. Screenshot via TikTok
  • Donors have raised $300,000 for an Idaho cop who made a viral TikTok video.
  • In the video, the officer mocked LeBron James and his concerns over police shootings.
  • The officer said he wanted to start a non-profit for police “in these very difficult situations.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Donors raised nearly $300,000 in three days on behalf of a small-town Idaho cop, whose viral TikTok appeared to mock LeBron James for expressing concern about the police killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.

The money was raised for Bellevue, Idaho, police officer Nate Silvester through a GoFundMe campaign organized by a man describing himself as Silverster’s “best friend.” In the campaign’s description, the organizer said Silvester had been suspended from the force without pay because of the video.

As the Idaho Statesman reported Saturday, Bellevue officials haven’t yet confirmed whether Silvester has actually been suspended.

Bellevue Marshal Mynde Heil did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment about Silvester’s employment with the city police. Silvester likewise did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

“The Bellevue Marshal’s Office is aware of the extreme controversy regarding Deputy Marshal Silvester’s viral TikTok,” the Marshal’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday. “The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal’s Office.”

It said it was a “personnel issue” that was being investigated internally.

In the viral video, which as of Saturday racked up 5.1 million views and more than 700,000 likes, Silvester sat inside his police car and performed a skit titled, “here we go again.”

“Dispatch, I have arrived,” Silvester said, pretending to talk on his police radio. Music from “Spongebob” played in the background of the video.

He also rolled down the window and started to talk to people standing outside, though it didn’t appear he was actually speaking to anyone.

“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.

Then, he pretended to receive a phone call from Los Angeles Lakers basketball star LeBron James. After Bryant was killed on April 21, James posted and eventually deleted, a tweet that said: “YOU’RE NEXT.” James called for “accountability” and included in the tweet a photo of Nicholas Reardon, the officer who shot Byrant four times.

James later deleted the tweet to prevent the spread of further hate, he said.

The scenario is a clear reference to Bryant, who in police bodycam footage appeared to lunge at another girl with a knife. Bryant’s killing sparked protest and outcry, and the mayor of Columbus called on the Department of Justice to review the police force for any instances of racial bias.

The April 20 shooting came just about a half-hour before a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for his May 2020 killing of George Floyd, whose death sparked nationwide unrest and calls for police reform and abolition.

“What do you think I should do?” Silvester asked the basketball player in the skit. James wasn’t actually on the other end of the phone.

Silvester then said the character in his skit holding the knife was Black, implying that the fake James had asked about the man’s race.

“Well they’re both Black,” he said. “One guy is trying to stab another guy with a knife. Deadly force is completely justified.

“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?” Silvester asked James.

Toward the end of the video, Silvester thanked James, pretended to hang up the phone, and told the fictional people outside his window that they were on their own, wishing them “good luck.”

In another video on his page, Silvester also appeared to defend Kimberly Potter, the Minnesota Police officer who last month shot and killed Daunte Wright in his car when she said she meant to discharged her Taser rather than her gun.

“The female officer in the Daunte Wright incident f—-d up big time,” he said. “She made a huge mistake. It’s awful. It’s horrible. But at least she had the balls to wear the badge and do the job for 26 years in an area like Minneapolis.”

An Instagram account that appeared to belong to Silvester included pro-Trump memes and one that appeared to joke about running over protesters who were laying on the road, Newsweek first reported.

In a video Friday posted to TikTok, Silvester thanked people who donated and said he wanted to move the discussion away from him and to drum up larger support for police.

“I want to shift the focus with this GoFundMe campaign from me onto the bigger picture, which is law enforcement officers all over the country,” he said. “We are seeing good police officers literally walking away from their jobs because it is no longer worth it to be police officers.

“They don’t have any incentive to do the job anymore. It’s not safe and it’s not healthy for them or for their families. They’re being vilified and demonized constantly by Hollywood, by the media, and we can’t stand for it anymore.”

He added that he was in the “primary stages” of launching a non-profit organization that exists to help officers who “find themselves in these very difficult situations.”

“We’re going to get it up and running,” he said. “We’re going to start taking care of our men and women in blue.”