Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man was shot multiple times in the back by police as he entered an SUV in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
According to a family attorney, his three children aged three, five, and eight were in the vehicle.
Footage of the horrifying incident has emerged on social media, and James, who has passionately spoken out throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, said after the Lakers’ win against the Portland Trail Blazers that he had seen the video.
“If you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman, or detain him, or before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here, you’re lying to not only me, you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community because we see it over and over and over,” James said.
“If you watch the video, there (were) multiple moments where if they wanted to they could have tackled him, they could have grabbed him.
They could have done that.Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing? And his family is there. The kids are there. It’s in broad daylight … It’s just, quite frankly, it’s just f**ked up in our community.
Blake is in a stable condition in an intensive care unit after the shooting. Two Wisconsin police officers have since been placed on leave and the police union has urged the public to withhold judgment until “all the facts are known.”
However, protests have started in Kenosha and across the country. On Monday, demonstrators gathered at the city’s courthouse and came face-to-face with police in riot gear. An armored vehicle was also on the scene and police threw gas to disperse the crowd.
“I know people get tired of hearing me say it but we are scared as Black people in America,” James added.
“Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified. Because you don’t know, you have no idea. You have no idea how that cop that day left the house. You don’t know if he woke up on the good side of the bed, you don’t know if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”
James said that Monday’s game was supposed to be a celebration for Kobe Bryant. Sunday marked Bryant’s birthday, while Monday is Kobe Bryant day, August 24 being a tribute to the numbers eight and 24 that he wore throughout his NBA career. But James said Blake’s shooting had sent his emotions “all over the place.”
“I still have a job to do because I’m here. Because I’m committed. And when I commit to something I feel like I have to come through; it’s just who I am,” he said.
“But that does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on and I won’t say anything or continue to use my platform and continue to use my voice and continue to uplift all the other athletes to let them know that they can say and do what’s right and not fear what other people’s opinions are.”