Protesters showing up at the hospital treating two deputies who were shot in an ambush and calling for their death is “something almost worthy of ISIS,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Tuesday.
“It’s just a new low for the hatred that I don’t think anyone in this nation has ever seen before,” Villanueva told “America’s Newsroom.”
“We just don’t expect it on our own shores and we have been here fighting to save people’s lives across the county – it doesn’t matter who you are and it is not something we are going to expect or tolerate,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva on Monday challenged NBA star LeBron James to match and double the reward money, which is currently up to $200,000, that is being offered for information on the gunman who ambushed and shot two deputies over the weekend.
“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 to speak on social issues and to condemn police misconduct. After Jacob Blake was shot multiple times by officers in Wisconsin last month, James said Black people in America are “terrified” of police misconduct.
“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.”
Villanueva on Tuesday said he had yet to hear from LeBron regarding his challenge, but that the NBA star needs “to take some ownership of exactly what he said in terms of propagating the idea that people are being hunted” due to the color of their skin.
“I think that is just flat out not the case. I think we need to hold those accountable for breaking the law, be it law enforcement when we are crossing the line, but, then we have to acknowledge the bigger problem of violence overall and this ambush, cowardly ambush, of the two deputies just doing their own job, doing their business there in Compton, really illustrates that. That is that the problem we need to address,” he said.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.