Former Bellevue Deputy Nate Silvester went viral earlier this year with his hilarious TikTok video mocking Lebron James while in uniform. Silvester pretended to call Lebron James and ask for advice on how to handle a fictitious disturbance call between two black men where one is wielding a knife.
The video was made in response to Lebron James threatening a Columbus, Ohio police officer who shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Bryant had a knife and was in the process of attempting to stab another person when the officer shot and killed her.
“the LeBron video”
The Tatum Report sat down with Nate Silvester to hear his side of the story and see where his journey outside of law enforcement is taking him.
It wasn’t long after the video went viral that Silvester knew his time with the Bellevue Marshal’s Office was coming to an end. Although those in charge of letting Nate Silvester go claimed it had nothing to do with the content of his video, Silvester said the city raised questions surrounding his political affiliations even during the interview process.
Silvester said long before the video was ever recorded, while he was still interviewing for the position, a city council member asked him to reveal his political beliefs. He said, “I thought that was kind of an odd question to be asked by a potential employer.”
After answering honestly that he was a conservative, the city council member asked whether he thought his political beliefs would allow him to do a good job policing their liberal city.
Silvester was shocked.
He told the council member that his political beliefs wouldn’t interfere with the job at hand as he believes that “politics and law enforcement shouldn’t mix.”
“My political affiliation has nothing to do with my willingness or ability to enforce the law,” explained Silvester.
Silvester said he started doing videos shortly after he was hired in December 2020. He said, “I’ve done 30-35 videos in my uniform. My goal in doing those videos was to always humanize the badge.” He said he wanted “to try and shed a positive light on law enforcement.” He made the videos to “illustrate how law enforcement officers; police officers are human beings.”
“We can be just as goofy and silly and funny as everybody else,” laughed Silvester.
Like his Lebron James video, most of the TikTok videos posted by Silvester were made in his uniform but were always recorded while he was on break or off shift. “I was in my uniform, but I had already been relieved by the guy that comes into work after me. I posted that particular video when I was off duty even though I was still in my uniform,” he explained.
Silvester said, “The problem I have with the mayor indicating that I wasn’t fired for the content of my speech or my videos is that they were concerned with my political affiliation before they hired me.”
“Nobody had an issue with any of my TikTok videos that I have done in uniform until the LeBron James video was posted, and they discovered that my political perspective conflicted with that of the mayor and the City Council,” he said.
Silvester claimed it wasn’t until the Lebron James video went viral that the mayor and City Council started enforcing department policy. He said it’s safer to be a liberal officer than a conservative. “If you look on the Bellevue Marshal’s Office Facebook page and then go back about a year or so, the mayor actually authorized all city employees to take a knee in honor of George Floyd,” he explained.
He said, “If that is not city employees and government employees speaking out on something political, I really don’t know what is.”
After he was let go from the Bellevue Marshal’s Office, Nate Silvester said he had the opportunity to talk with conservative law enforcement officers all over the country. “I talk to them in person, and I get messages on a daily basis, and they’re scared to death not only to speak out about their political beliefs but about literally anything,” he said.
Silvester continued, “Because for whatever reason the general public – and when I say the general public, this is usually coming from people on the left – I don’t hear about many conservatives or Republicans filing complaints against government employees because they said something that they disagreed with.” He said the complaints “seem to only come from leftists.”
He said the “war on police has grown exponentially” and that law enforcement officers are often forced to choose between keeping their job or keeping to their personal moral code.
When asked how we fix this issue, he said, “We need members of the public to stand up and start speaking out on behalf of these officers and being louder than the opposition.”
“I think that the real issue is that chiefs and mayors and city council members hear complaints all day long from disgruntled members of the community,” explained Silvester. “They rarely hear about a lot of the good that officers do, and they rarely hear from the supporters of law enforcement.”
Silvester said it is up to the public to help break this cycle. “The mayors and the chiefs, and the city council members need to hear from the people who appreciate and understand how important it is to have good men and women stay on the job,” he said.
Nate Silvester plans to spend his time away from law enforcement to bring awareness to the officers’ work in protecting our communities. “I feel like it’s a calling. Because of the LeBron James video, I had so many people reaching out to me.”
Silvester said, “thousands and thousands of people” sent him messages saying, ‘hey, please don’t back down from this. We need your voice. We need you to stand up. Don’t let them silence you. We are behind you. We need you to continue to speak out on behalf of not just law enforcement but for traditional American conservative values that our country was founded on.'”
The mission changed from something he wanted to do to something he knew needs to be done. Silvester believes that ordinary people have no idea the work that goes into policing our neighborhoods. Educating the public about the work law enforcement does is the crucial next step.
He’s written a book, Never Off Duty, which comes out September 30 and includes a forward written by Brandon Tatum. The book he hopes will help start a positive discussion on policing in America and how our society treats law enforcement officers. “This book will really give people a look into the reality of police work and not the nonsense you see on mainstream media,” Nate Silvester explained.
He said, “If we can get people to understand what police work is really like and realistically understand that the dangers, the stress, the trauma and the limitations that police officers have, maybe we can sort of soften the blowback that a lot of officers receive in the media.”
Nate Silvester said his mission is about the future of our country, and he isn’t stopping any time soon.