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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva directly challenged NBA star LeBron James to essentially put his money where his mouth is.
Villanueva asked the Los Angeles Lakers star, who has been quite vocal in condemning police misconduct, to match the reward money being offered for information on the person who ambushed and shot two LA County Sheriff’s deputies over the weekend.
A manhunt is still underway for the gunman who was seen on surveillance video Saturday, walking up to the passenger’s side of the vehicle and shooting both deputies inside, wounding the 31-year-old mother and her 24-year-old male partner.
Los Angeles County has already pledged $100,000 and private pledges of $50,000 and $25,000 have been added to the total so far for information on the shooter. During an interview with KABC Radio on the John Phillips Show, Villanueva asked James to double the $175,000 amount to $350,000.
We at @LASDHQ would like to offer our sincerest appreciation for the overwhelming support being offered from all over the Nation.
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) September 13, 2020
“This challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match that and double that reward,” Villanueva said.
“I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community,” he added.
“And I appreciated that,” Villanueva continued. “But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.”
“Let’s see what he does,” the sheriff told KABC. “I’ll be very curious to see what his response is, if any.”
James has been outspoken in recent weeks on social justice issues, notably speaking out after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last month. He declared during a press conference that black people are “terrified” to live in America, suggesting that the Kenosha, Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake last month may have woken up “on the wrong side of the bed” or had a motive.
“Quite frankly, it’s just f–ked up in our community,” James told reporters last month.
“I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as black people in America. Black men, black women, black kids, we are terrified because you don’t know, you have no idea how that cop that day left the house,” he added.
In addition to the many tweets and retweets about getting registered and voting, James has used the social media platform to express his frustrations about police shootings as well.
And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE https://t.co/cJxOj1EZ3H
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 24, 2020
Conservative activist Candace Owens called James out for his hypocrisy over comments he’s made on racism and accused the “pea-brained” basketball star of stoking anti-police sentiments. She slammed the Lakers star for his complaints on “suffering through racism” while living a privileged life.
“This is a man that lives in a one hundred million dollar mansion in Bel Air,” Owens said Sunday on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty, & Levin.”
“I always say, if you’re suffering through racism, please give me some of that,” she added. “He’s got a white gardener, a white chef, all various white people that work for him, white driver. So if that’s racism, LeBron, please, please share some of that with the rest of us.”