Vanessa Bryant hit back this week at Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who challenged NBA superstar LeBron James to match reward money for information on the shooting of two deputies in Compton, California on Saturday.
In a series of posts on her Instagram Story, Bryant spotlighted screenshots of tweets and articles blasting Villanueva and calling out his department over the leak of graphic photos following the tragic helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their young daughter Gianna, and seven others in January.
“How can he talk about trusting the system?” asked @ElanMaree in a quote tweet. “His sheriff’s department couldn’t be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them.”
It was on Monday when the sheriff spoke directly to LeBron:
“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.
“And I appreciated that,” he continued. “But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.”
The Los Angeles Lakers star has been one of the most vocal professional athletes on social issues and police misconduct, but has not spoken out on the incident in Compton.
“I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America,” James said following the Lakers’ Game 4 win over the Portland Trail Blazers last month. “Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.”