Following the shooting of two L.A. deputies on Sept. 12 who were ambushed by a gunman over the weekend, the Los Angeles County sheriff challenged Lakers superstar LeBron James on Monday (Sept. 14) to match the $175,000 reward money being offered for information on the shooting.
Speaking with KABC radio, Sheriff Alex Villanueva explained his request.
“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. And I appreciated that.”
Journalist and podcast host Jemele Hill shared her thoughts on Villanueva’s unorthodox request on Twitter saying the sherriff “shouldn’t be using the cold-blooded murder of two officers to bully a celebrity and further a bad narrative that demanding police accountability means you sanction violence against the police.”
Shannon Sharpe, the co-host of ESPN’s “Undisputed” also blasted Villanueva for his request, posting his comments on Twitter on Sept. 15. The NFL Hall of Famer chimed in calling out the sheriff and eight deputies for reportedly leaking photos of the late Kobe Bryant’s helicopter accident on Jan.26 and then allegedly covering up the incident.
“I challenge him to fire the officers that shared the photos of Kobe’s accident, but he and his dept tried to cover it up,” Sharpe wrote.
Villanueva expressed that he wanted James to step up and help the community.
“We need to appreciate that respect for life goes across professions, across races, creeds, and I'd like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that," he continued.
The Sheriff confirmed that two individuals donated $75,000 in addition to the $100,000 offered by the county.
CBS News reports that an unidentified man walked up to the passenger’s side of a parked police car in Compton, ambushing two deputies inside, firing multiple rounds. Both deputies were hit in the head and critically wounded but are expected to recover.
There has not been a response from James to the sheriff’s request.
Take a look at what others had to say in response to the L.A. sheriff's request.
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)