Twitter won’t decide whether NBA superstar LeBron James should be banned from the social media platform for his tweet about the police officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Columbus, Ohio, resident Ma’Khia Bryant.
James on Wednesday posted a photograph of Nicholas Reardon, identified as the police officer who shot the teenager, and added the words "YOU'RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY."
He pulled the tweet down after an outcry from people who said he was inciting violence against Reardon.
But Twitter said it is unable to judge tweets that have been taken down.
"Our teams are unable to evaluate tweets that have been deleted since they no longer exist on our service," a Twitter spokesperson told the Washington Examiner on Thursday.
The Daily Caller said that the tweet was up for over an hour and garnered tens of thousands of likes and retweets. James has almost 50,000,000 followers.
It said that Twitter’s policy warns that users may "not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. This includes wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm."
The Daily Caller posted the deleted tweet. And the Examiner noted Twitter appeared to apply a different standard to Donald Trump when he was president. Twitter repeatedly censored Trump's posts over accusations of misinformation and later permanently suspended his account in the wake of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
"After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said in booting Trump.
In a Thursday night statement, Trump blasted James for his tweet, calling the Los Angeles Lakers star’s comments "racist rants" that are "divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning."
"His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!" the former president said.
Bryant was killed Tuesday night just minutes before a jury in Minneapolis announced a guilty verdict was reached for all three charges against ex-police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Body camera footage released in Columbus Tuesday shortly after the shooting shows an officer, believed to be Reardon, approaching an altercation involving Bryant. Soon after he asked what was happening, the officer fired four shots at the girl after she lunged after another girl, while holding a knife. The officer can be heard saying "she had a knife. She just went at her."
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