Home / Sport / Los Angeles Sheriff challenges LeBron James to match reward money for gunman who ambushed 2 deputies

Los Angeles Sheriff challenges LeBron James to match reward money for gunman who ambushed 2 deputies

Los Angeles County Sheriff on Monday challenged Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to match $ 175,000 in cash to get information on the gunman who ambushed and shot two Los Angeles MPs over the weekend. . In an interview with KABC Radio, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the reward money reached $ 175,000, after two people donated $ 75,000 to add to the $ 100,000 offered by the county.

“This challenge is for Lebron James. I want you to equal it and double that reward,” Villanueva said. “I know you care about law enforcement. You made a very interesting statement about your views on race relations and the shootings involved in officers and the impact it has on the African American community. And I appreciated that. But at the same time. way, we need to appreciate that respect for life runs through professions, races, creeds, and I̵

7;d love to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that. “

James, who spoke of police shootings involving people of color, had not publicly responded to the sheriff’s challenge early Tuesday morning. Last month, James expressed indignation after an officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saying blacks in America are “terrified”.

“I know people get tired of hearing this, but we’re scared like black people in America,” he said. “Black men, black women, black guys, we’re terrified.”

James has also repeatedly called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was shot dead when officers broke into her apartment with a warrant not to knock in March.

Villanueva’s challenge to James came after the weekend ambush of two deputies who were in their parked police vehicle when a man approached the passenger side and fired multiple shots. The deputies were shot in the head and seriously injured, but both are expected to recover, Villanueva said. The gunman was not captured and a motive was not determined.

Two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies were shot, seriously injured in a captured attack
Sheriff Alex Villanueva holds a press conference outside the emergency room at St. Francis Medical Center, where two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies were treated after being killed on Saturday, September 12, 2020 in Lynwood, California.

Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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 hot spot for racial tension and distrust of the police. Hundreds marched to South LA Sheriff’s Station Saturday to protest the deadly shootings of a black man on August 31 and a black teenager in 2018.

Both were killed by deputies from the station, which is about 6 miles from where the deputies were targeted on Saturday. After that 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 of the scene recorded protesters shouting swearing at the police and at least one shout “I hope they … die”.

In an interview with the PA, Villanueva said the angry rhetoric is making the work of deputies more difficult.

“They are out there doing their job and yet we have people who fuel the flames of hatred and turn the volume up when we don’t need it. We have to turn it down,” Villanueva said. “In particular, our elected officials, civic leaders and sports figures must begin to emphasize trust in the system, due process.”

Villanueva did not specify any particular person, but many politicians and athletes have harshly criticized the police and called for the departments to be defunded in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed him a knee to neck, and Blake’s shooting at Kenosha.

The NBA playoffs were postponed last month when James and other stars backed the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play after Blake’s filming. US Open winner Naomi Osaka of 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 Los Angeles County lawmakers last month, US Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat representing part of southern Los Angeles, said “while we don’t know all the details of this incident. ” he shares the community’s indignation that the message of the police killings is “the lives of people of color don’t matter and that the practice is to shoot first and ask questions”.

He said the sheriff’s department was out of control and called on state attorney general Xavier Becerra to investigate “the abuse model.”

The department has launched its own investigation into allegations that a group of renegade lawmakers calling themselves The Executioner’s took over Compton station through threats, intimidation and harassment.

Ron Hernandez, president of the Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs Association, said his organization was open to general reform – he disputed any allegations of renegade deputy groups – but Saturday’s shooting could never be justified as part of potential anti-police rhetoric.

“When you’re sitting there doing paperwork and providing security to the community, and someone from the audience comes out and ambushes you and tries to kill you, there’s no valid explanation for that,” he said at a press conference outside Monday. from the hospital. “I don’t care how angry the public is, I don’t care how angry the people who might protest are too. This won’t solve anything.”

Villanueva criticized elected officials, sports personalities and civic leaders for “blowing up the flames of hatred” as America grapples with racism and police brutality, saying they should emphasize trust in the justice system instead. criminal.

Villanueva also dismissed claims that the criminal justice system is biased against people of color, saying her department is engaged in thorough investigations, including its own employees.

“For someone who claims to be biased, the only bias we have is towards facts,” he said. “We have to stop the false narratives. We have to let the system run its course and justice has to be based on fact, based on evidence. It has to be fair.”

Villanueva said the department’s investigation into police shootings like Kizzee’s takes time.

“We are not going to speed up or slow down at the behest of anyone,” he said. “It will be based on facts, not emotions. Some people have already determined the results, so they are trying to throw stones at the trial.”

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