After basketball star LeBron James tweeted a picture of the police officer involved in a fatal shooting incident in Columbus, Ohio, with the headline, "YOU'RE NEXT," Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said "this is a pattern where the left ... attacks and demonizes police officers" before the facts are known and before evidence is presented.
James sent his tweet on April 21, one day after a former police officer in Minneapolis was found guilty by a jury of murder in the death of George Floyd. James later deleted the tweet after facing tremendous criticism on social media. But the damage was already done given that he has 49.6 million followers and the police officer's photo was retweeted and shared countless times.
"Unfortunately, this is a pattern where the left consistently goes after, attacks, and demonizes police officers, and they do so often before the facts are known [and] often before there's any evidence of what happened," said Cruz on FNC's Primetime.
"But their immediate reaction whenever there's an incident is the police officer's in the wrong, the police officer is the villain," said Cruz. "In this instance, 'you're next' could certainly be interpreted by some. even for, as a call for violence. And I think it was a grossly irresponsible message for LeBron James to send out."
"And we've now seen the body-cam footage from what occurred, and by any measure it was a volatile situation that the woman who was killed was wielding a knife, was violent, appeared to be threatening the lives of others," said the senator.
"And it may well be on an investigation that this police officer saved the life of a potential victim of a knife attack, and we shouldn't jump to conclusions," he said.
"There needs to be an investigation," said Cruz. "Anytime there is a shooting that takes someone's life, it should be investigated. The facts should be determined."
"But the left doesn't care about the facts," he added. "They care about demonizing and attacking law enforcement. And I think it's wrong."