The Los Angeles County Sheriff on Monday challenged Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to match $ 175,000 in reward money offered for information about the shooter who ambushed and shot two LA deputies over the weekend. In an interview with KABC Radio, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the reward money has reached $ 175,000 after two people donated $ 75,000 to add to.
“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 racial relations and attacks on officers and the impact it has on African American society. And I appreciated that. But we also need to put appreciate that respect for life goes across professions, across races, creeds, and I would like to see LeBron James step up on the plate and double that. “
James, who has heard of police shootings involving black people, had not responded publicly to the sheriff̵
“I know people get tired of hearing me say that, but we’re scared like a black people in America,” he said. “Black men, black women, black children, we’re scared.”
James has also repeatedly called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed when officers entered her apartment with a non-bank order in March.
Villanueva’s challenge to James came afterthere was in their parked police car when a man went up to the passenger side and fired several rounds. Deputies were hit in the head and critically injured, but both are expected to recover, Villanueva said. The shooter is not captured and a motive is not determined.
The shooting took place in Compton, one of the communities near south Los Angeles, an area with a large black population that has long been a hotbed of racial tension and mistrust of the police. Hundreds marched Saturday to the Sheriff’s Department South LA station to protest the deadly shots of a black man on August 31 and a black teenager in 2018.
Both were killed by deputies from the station, which is located approx. 10 km from where the deputies were targeted on Saturday. After the shooting, a handful of protesters gathered outside the hospital, where the deputies were treated and tried to block the entrance to the emergency room. Videos from the scene recorded protesters shouting investigators at police and at least one shouting “I hope they … die.”
In an interview with the AP, Villanueva said that the angry rhetoric complicates the work of deputies.
“They are out there doing their job, and yet we have people blowing the flames of hatred and just turning up the volume when we do not need it. We have to turn it down,” Villanueva said. “Especially our elected officials and bourgeois leaders and sports figures, they have to start emphasizing trust in the system, a proper process.”
Villanueva did not specify any particular people, but many politicians and athletes have harshly criticized the police, urging to ward off departments in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed a knee against his neck, and the shooting of Blake in Kenosha.
The NBA Finals were delayed last month when James and other stars supported the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play after Blake’s shooting. US Open winner Naomi Osaka from Japan wore masks with the names of black victims of violence throughout the tennis tournament.
After 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee was killed by two LA deputies last month, the U.S. rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat representing part of southern Los Angeles, “while we do not know all the details of this incident” she shares the anger of society and that the message of police killings is “the lives of people of color do not matter and that practice is to shoot first and ask questions later. “
She said the Sheriff’s Department is out of control and urged Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate the “pattern of abuse”.
The department has launched its own investigation into allegations that an apostate group of deputies calling themselves executioners has taken control of Compton station through threats, intimidation and harassment.
Ron Hernandez, president of the Association of Los Angeles Vice Sheriffs, said his organization is open to an overarching reform – he disputed any allegations by rejected groups of lawmakers – but Saturday’s shooting could never be justified as part of potential anti-police rhetoric.
“When you sit there and do paperwork and ensure the safety of society, and someone from the public comes out and does ambush and tries to kill you, there is no valid explanation for that,” he said during a press conference Monday outside the hospital. . “I do not care how angry the public is, I do not care how angry even the people who might protest. It will not solve anything.”
Villanueva criticized elected officials, sports figures and bourgeois leaders for “flaring up the flames of hatred” as America struggles with racism and police brutality, saying they should instead emphasize confidence in the criminal justice system.
Villanueva also denied allegations that the criminal justice system is biased against colored people, saying his department is committed to thorough investigations, including by its own staff.
“For someone who says they are biased, the only bias we have is against the facts,” he said. “We have to stop the false stories. We have to let the system run its course, and justice must be based on facts, based on evidence. That must be right.”
Villanueva said the department’s investigation into police shootings like the Kizzees is taking time.
“We are not going to speed up or slow down at the urging of anyone,” he said. “It will be based on facts and not on emotions. Some people have already determined the results, so they are trying to throw stones at the process.”