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Idaho police officer whose viral video mocked LeBron James gets fired, as city mayor calls for ‘calm and understanding’

Bellevue, Idaho Mayor Ned Burns announced the officer’s firing on Thursday, saying the decision was made by Silvester’s superiors and that deputy was terminated for repeated policy violations, not for the tone or content of his online speech. 

The deputy’s skit came in response to an April 21 Twitter post by James, seemingly threatening the Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot black teenager Ma’Khia Bryant as she drew a knife to stab another black female. The basketball player’s tweet, which he later deleted, showed a picture of the officer and a caption saying “You’re next.”

Silvester’s firing apparently won’t ruin the deputy financially. A friend, Gannon Ward, launched a GoFundMe campaign after Silvester was suspended without pay, seeking to raise $150,000. As of Thursday, the fundraiser had garnered more than $521,000. The money will go directly to Silvester, who has said that he plans to donate some of it to a police charity and create a scholarship fund to help officers who have lost their jobs unfairly.

Ward said on Thursday that he believes Burns had been “gunning” to fire Silvester since the LeBron James video went viral, though the mayor maintained the officer’s firing “was not influenced in any way by me or by the City Council.”

Earlier this month, Silvester also announced that he had signed a book deal with Di Angelo Publications. His working title is “Never Off Duty.”

“The whole point of my TikTok account is to humanize the badge and help shed a positive light on law enforcement that some people don’t get to see,” Silvester said in a follow-up video. “This book is going to further that cause and help educate people like LeBron James and others, who have a very limited understanding of police officers and the work that they do.”

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