BELLEVUE, ID – Nate Silvester, the Bellevue, Idaho cop who gained viral fame with a TikTok video in April mocking NBA star LeBron James’ alleged threats against the police officer involved in the Ma’Khia Bryant shooting has been been from his job on Thursday after a investigation concluded that he had violated department policy.
The now-former law enforcement officer, who often posted humorous videos to his TikTok account in what he called an effort to “humanize the badge,” appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show the same day he was fired, claiming that he is a victim of “wokeness” run amok.
“I am the latest target of cancel culture,” he said. “That’s all it is.”
In April, James had originally tweeted “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY” along with a photograph of the white officer that allegedly shot Ma’Khia Bryant – who was Black – while she was attempting to stab another Black female; many saw the move as James potentially targeting the law enforcement officer for violence. The tweet was later deleted.
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Silvester then posted a video skit on TikTok criticizing James’ tweet which has since acquired millions of views. The tongue-in-cheek video depicts Silvester sitting in the driver’s seat of his police cruiser and observing an imaginary knife attack between “two Black people” while waiting for “LeBron James” to call to advise him how to proceed.
Silvester had been previously suspended without pay while the Marshal’s Office in Bellevue investigated his TikTok video aimed at the NBA star; a friend had started a GoFundMe page for Silvester at the time to help make up for his lost pay, which to date has raised over $531,000.
Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns claimed on Facebook that Silvester was fired over “continued policy violations” and not over the content of his TikTok videos.
“After his previous policy violations Deputy Marshal Silvester was placed on probation and was on, what is called, a ‘last chance agreement’ with his superior officers. Because of his continued policy violations, the Marshal has terminated Mr. Sylvester,” he said. “The policy violations have nothing to do with the tone or the tenor of his speech that he posts online. He was not terminated for the content of his speech; he was terminated for his failure to follow clearly laid out and well established policy.”
However, Silvester noted the coincidence of the timing of his firing while on Hannity’s show, and suggested that politically-correct politics instead played a role.
“None of my other videos that depicted me in my uniform or involving body camera footage, none of those mattered. They didn’t care about those,” he said. “It wasn’t until my LeBron James TikTok struck a political nerve that they started to pay attention and complain about it and came up with forms of discipline.”