Nate Silvester, Cop Who Mocked LeBron James, Previously Cleared in Motel Shooting Death

The Idaho deputy who was publicly reprimanded by his employer following a viral TikTok video mocking LeBron James appears to have been previously cleared in a 2009 police shooting during his former tenure at a police department.

Nate Silvester, a deputy with the Bellevue Marshal's Office, amassed millions of views this week after posting a TikTok video deriding James following the NBA legend's much-criticized and now-deleted tweet over the police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant.

Silvester has also posted a pair of videos defending Kim Potter, the Minnesota police officer who is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

On Tuesday, the Marshal's Office said the "personnel issue" was "being dealt with internally."

"The Bellevue Marshal's Office is aware of the extreme controversy regarding Deputy Marshal Silvester's viral TikTok," the agency said in a Facebook post. "The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal's Office."

"The Bellevue Marshal's Office always demands that our Deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner. This is NOT how we expect our Deputies to act on duty or use city time."

A GoFundMe set up on Wednesday, apparently by a friend of Silvester, stated the deputy has kept his job, but was suspended without pay. The widely-shared fundraiser, which aimed to compensate his loss of income, has raised around $167,770 at time of writing.

Calling LeBron 😂 @KingJames pic.twitter.com/rSBuOcwRlf

— R. Scott Sicario 2.0 (@SicarioScott) April 24, 2021

Newsweek has found Silvester was named as one of four officers cleared in the 2009 shooting death of a 20-year-old man while employed at the police department in Idaho's Twin Falls.

In August 2009, the Ada County prosecutor found the four officers to have acted appropriately in the shooting of Randy J. Holler Jr. on March 17 that year, the Times-News reported at the time.

In a press release that only named Silvester, Ada County's deputy prosecutor said two of the officers came to the Dunes Motel and found Holler exiting a room's bathroom carrying a 9mm handgun stolen from a previous residential burglary, according to the Times-News.

During the confrontation, Silvester struggled with Holler and shot him in the chest. The man subsequently freed himself and ran into the motel parking lot, where an officer said he saw him "sweeping" his gun at him. Another officer said Holler pointed his gun back towards the motel room, where Silvester and his colleague stood in the doorway.

The four officers then shot at Holler from three different positions, firing 20 shots and hitting him 17 times. Holler did not discharge his gun.

The press release stated Holler had methamphetamine and THC in his system. The Times-News said it was not specified whether Holler's gun contained ammunition, but ammunition and drug paraphernalia were found inside a bag in the bathroom.

Holler was placed on a two-year probation over grand theft charges in 2007 following the theft of a cell phone stemming from a confrontation over drug money, the Times-News reported, citing court documents. A pair of warrants for his arrest were issued in February 2009 after he failed to attend required meetings and broke down the front door of an ex-girlfriend's apartment.

He also had a history of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and domestic battery.

A Newsweek review of posts on the Twin Falls Police Department's Facebook page confirmed Silvester once served on its force. A photo posted in late 2017 depicts a man identified as "Officer Silvester" demonstrating a submission technique. In a set of photos from 2014, Silvester is pictured among Twin Falls police officers who received an advanced training certification.

However, the Twin Falls Police Department appeared to distance itself from Silvester in the aftermath of his TikTok controversy. A Wednesday Facebook statement responding to backlash erroneously accusing the Twin Falls P.D. of suspending Silvester did not acknowledge him as its former police officer.

"This Facebook page, and many members of the TFPD staff, are receiving messages regarding the reported suspension of an officer for a tik tok video," Chief Craig Kingsbury wrote. "However the fact is that this officer does not work for the TFPD. Therefore no one at TFPD has any involvement in this personnel action."

Newsweek has contacted Kingsbury and the Ada County Prosecutor's Office for comment.

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Bellevue Deputy Nate Silvester garnered millions of views after posting a TikTok video mocking LeBron James following the NBA legend’s deleted tweet over the police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images