Once again, a young Black person was shot and killed. Once again, a white police officer pulled the trigger. There’s no question about those facts. Indeed, the life of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was taken from her. That’s tragic. But those aren’t all of the facts in this latest police-related shooting. What’s more, reality doesn’t support the race-baiters who hope to spin the narrative to advance their cause.
Case in point. Valerie Jarrett, one of Barack Obama’s closest advisers, misinformed her 200k Twitter followers saying, “A Black teenage girl named Ma’Khia Bryant was killed because a police officer immediately decided to shoot her multiple times in order to break up a knife fight. Demand accountability. Fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Okay—let’s demand accountability. Let’s start with her tweet, which blatantly misrepresented reality. The officer didn’t intervene to “break up a knife fight.” For that to be true, both girls involved would have to have been armed with knives. The attacker, Ma’Khia Bryant, was armed. The target of her knife thrusts, also a Black woman, was unarmed and was pinned against a car trying to avoid being killed. Any reasonable person would agree this was attempted murder. In reality, the officer acted to protect a Black life. He should be commended, not condemned by Jarrett.
What if the officer hadn’t stopped the attack?
What if he stood by and let Bryant lunge at and stab her intended victim? Jarrett would Tweet something like: “A Black teenage girl was killed because a white police officer failed to break up a knife fight. Demand accountability.” America is on dangerous ground when we handcuff law enforcement officers into a lose-lose situation in the line of duty. Jarrett is only perpetuating the problem, not moving the nation closer to healing.
Meanwhile, Ma’Khia’s mother, Paula Bryant, described her deceased daughter as “a very loving, peaceful little girl ... she promoted peace.” Political commentator Candace Owens, who is Black, disagrees, telling her 3.6 million Instagram followers that “I have never seen a peacemaker trying to stab someone to death with a knife.”
She then turned her comments to LA Lakers’ highest-paid player, LeBron James, taking him to task for his highly irresponsible tweet regarding the incident. In a fit of rage over the shooting, LeBron, as an outspoken advocate of the BLM narrative, tweeted a photo of Officer Nicholas Reardon, the police officer who prevented Ma’Khia Bryant from killing an unarmed Black girl, to his 49 million followers stating: “YOU’RE NEXT” followed by an hourglass emoji, and then added “#ACCOUNTABILITY.” LeBron later deleted the tweet.
Threatening the life of another person is no small matter. Owens, putting on a full-court press, said, “LeBron James should have all of his sponsorships taken from him for putting the face of a heroic police officer and saying, 'You’re next' to him.” I agree. Inciting violence against another human being is morally inexcusable.
There’s precedence for athletes to lose their huge endorsement deals—think Lance Armstrong, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant and Michael Phelps among dozens of others. In LeBron’s case, that translates into a reported $64 million this year alone. The question is whether or not LeBron’s sponsors will, as Valerie Jarrett advocates, demand accountability by holding their favorite son accountable.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) raises a similar question. He tweeted, “Lebron James is inciting violence against an Ohio police officer. This is disgraceful and dangerous. Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?”
Owens rightly observed that if the situation had been reversed, “if a Black officer had shot a white person who was charging another white person” with a knife and “saved the life of that other white person” and then a white NBA player posted a photo of the officer saying, “This guy, he's next ... he would have had all of these sponsor issues. They would have had to step down from the NBA no questions asked. But LeBron James I guess gets to be celebrated because he's Black.”
Owens is deeply concerned about where this disrespect for law officers is headed. She told her Instagram followers: “Let me tell you what's going to happen next. Police officers are going to start resigning in mass resignations. People are not going to be signing up for the police academy. Do you want to know whose neighborhoods are going to be the first that are affected by that? Do you think it's LeBron James’ neighborhood?” After all, he owns a $23 million home in Beverly Hills—as well as a $36 million sprawling 10,000 square foot home overlooking Los Angeles, and a third home in Ohio valued at $9 million.
Owens adds, “We all know which are the neighborhoods that need the most policing. We all know that they’re minority neighborhoods where the police are called the most to deal with violent crimes.” While LeBron takes aim at police who put their lives on the line every day and who have the thankless, lose-lose job of attempting to serve and protect, he lives surrounded by a level of luxury few Americans will ever experience. That isn’t entirely surprising considering he’s likely to achieve billionaire status this year according to one report.
He might be wealthy, and he’s definitely at the top of his game, but LeBron lacks common sense. He needs coaching to understand that his words, like those of Valerie Jarrett, can bring healing or harm. At the moment, both are bringing harm. Proverbs 25:18 says, “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow” (NLT). And, as Proverbs 11:12 says, “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.” If we’re gonna speak, let our words be spent praying for the Prince of Peace to bring healing to our fractured soul.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines. Used with permission.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox/Staff
Bob DeMoss is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books including collaborations with Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty, Jim Daly/Focus on the Family, Andy Stanley, and Tim LaHaye/Left Behind. His latest short story is "Hazel: The Outlaw Mummy". Visit BobDeMoss.com.