Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has slammed famous basketball player LeBron James for his recent tweet to one of the officers who responded to the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio which read "you're next".
Cruz told Fox News Primetime on Wednesday that the tweet reflected a "pattern" of behaviour among left-wingers and that James’ tweet could be interpreted by some as a call for violence, adding that sending such a message was "grossly irresponsible" of the basketball star.
"The left consistently goes after, attacks and demonises police officers ... often before the facts are known, often before there is any evidence of what happened, but their immediate reaction, whenever there is an incident, is that the police officer is in the wrong" Cruz said.
Cruz also pointed out that James ignored the fact that Columbus police released body camera footage that showed Ma'Khia Bryant pulling a knife on another female.
"The woman who was killed was wielding a knife, was violent, appeared to be threatening the [lives] of others. It may well be, on an investigation, that this police officer saved the life of a potential victim of a knife attack and we shouldn't jump to conclusions," the senator said.
"…The left doesn't care about the facts, they care about demonising and attacking law enforcement and I think it's wrong," he said.
LeBron James, who is originally from Akron, Ohio, sparked caused outrage on Wednesday, taking to Twitter to post a photo of the officer who shot 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant with "YOU’RE NEXT" in caps and adding the hashtag "#ACCOUNTABILITY". The Los Angeles Lakers star soon deleted the post after a growing backlash and attempted to explain his feelings on the matter in another tweet, apparently trying to stress the importance of "gathering all the facts" and "educating" and saying that his "anger still is here for what happened that lil girl".
James said in another tweet that he was "so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police" and that he took down the tweet because according to him it was "being used to create more hate". He also blamed "the entire system" for the situation saying that "they always use our words to create more racism".
Neither NBA nor the Los Angeles Lakers have reacted to the situation.