Officer Deon Joseph is a 24-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department and he decided to write an open letter to NBA star LeBron James after he tweeted out “You’re next!” to the officer who was forced to shoot Ma’Khia Bryant.
In his letter, Joseph told James: “You basically put a target on the back of a human being who had to make a split-second decision to save a life from a deadly attack.” He also called the tweet “irresponsible and disturbing” and “so off base and extreme.” Joseph went on to request a meeting with James without the media present to discuss law enforcement.
James would later delete the incendiary tweet that also featured a picture of Officer Nicholas Reardon and then posted a less-than apologetic tweet: “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the Tweet down because it’s being used to create more hate. This isn’t about one officer. It’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The tweet went viral and even former President Trump weighed in on it, calling James “racist.”
(Video Credit: CBS Los Angeles)
“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA,” Trump declared in a statement.
“His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning,” he proclaimed. “He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”
This post by @KingJames could be read as an incitement to violence against a @ColumbusPolice officer who responded to the attempted stabbing attack by #MakhiaBryant. LeBron James has deleted the tweet. Here is an archive: https://t.co/6Dn4LnS22M #BLM pic.twitter.com/epH7EQFjuf
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 21, 2021
Joseph also wrote in his letter in regard to Officer Reardon and James’ vague apology:
“A decision I know he and many others wish they never had to make. Especially when it involves someone so young. Instead of apologizing, you deflected. You said you took your tweet down because you did not want it to be used for hate when the tweet itself was the embodiment of hatred, rooted in a lack of understanding of the danger of the situation. I don’t know if this will ever reach you, but my hope is that one day I can sit down with you and talk. As a man of faith, I can have no hatred toward you. But I do feel I can help you understand the reality of the profession of policing, and that there is another side you need to hear. You are tired of Black folks dying? So am I. You hate racism and police brutality? So do I. But you cannot paint 800,000 men and women who are of all races, faiths, sexual orientations and are also mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, preachers, coaches, community members and just human with such a broad and destructive brush.”
The officer continued: “Unlike some who have dug their heels in the belief that police are inherently evil, I think if you yourself actually sat down and had a real honest and open conversation with a cop, there is a strong chance you may discover we are not the monsters you have come to believe we are, who deserve the hate and disdain you have.”
ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail! 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
On Monday, Joseph also posted a video that addressed his letter: “I don’t want anybody thinking this is a ‘me versus LeBron,'” he remarked. “There’s no vitriol.”
Joseph went to say: “I don’t want this to be adversarial. I’m not calling him out. I’m not trying to shame him. I want to have a conversation.”
He also hopes that James will “one day sit down with a police officer” rather than “sum up who we are.”
(Video Credit: Officer Deon Joseph)
Joseph has spent more than two decades working the L.A. skid row beat. He once told the Los Angeles Times that “I came here to save lives, not to stand by and watch people die.”
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