Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Monday challenged NBA star LeBron James to match and double the reward money offered for information about the shooter who ambushed and shot two deputies over the weekend.
In an interview with KABC Radio on the John Phillips Show, Villanueva said the reward money reached $ 175,000 – a combination of donations of $ 100,000 from the county and $ 75,000 from two individuals.
“This challenge is for Lebron James. I want you to match it and double that reward,” Villanueva said. “I know you are interested in law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact it has on African American society.
“And I appreciated that,”
The Los Angeles Lakers star has been one of the loudest professional athletes to speak out on social issues and to condemn police misconduct. After Jacob Blake was shot several times by officers in Wisconsin last month, James said black people in America are “afraid” of police misconduct.
“I know people get tired of hearing me say that, but we’re scared like black people in America,” James said after the Lakers’ Game 4 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last month. “Black men, black women, black children, we’re scared.”
He previously tweeted his frustrations over police shootings.
“And you wonder why we say what we say about the police !! Anyone tell me, WTF is this ??? !!! Exactly another black man is being targeted, ”James wrote. “This is — [sic] is so wrong and so sad !! Sorry so much for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE !! We want JUSTICE. ”
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It was not clear whether James was aware of Villanuena’s challenge. Messages to the Lebron James Foundation were not immediately returned.
“Let’s see what he does,” said the sheriff. “I will be very curious to see what his answer is, if any.”