A Los Angeles police officer’s post has gone insanely viral on Facebook when he pinned an open letter to LeBron James following the Ma’Khia Bryant shooting and what he posted on Twitter.
James sparked controversy when he tweeted a picture of Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon along with the ominous-sounding caption, “YOU’RE NEXT.” The Los Angeles Lakers star later deleted the tweet amid a backlash, saying he took the missive down because it was “being used to create more hate.”
LAPD officer Deon Joseph wrote in a lengthy Facebook post hoping to meet with James and help him “understand the reality of the profession.”
“I am not going to come at you from a place of hatred. There will be no name calling,” Joseph began his post. “I was raised to see the whole of a human being. Not to hyper focus on their flaws or make said flaws the whole of who they are. I’m an honest man.”
“Your tweet that targeted a police officer in Ohio who saved a young woman’s life was irresponsible and disturbing,” Joseph wrote.
“It showed a complete lack of understanding of the challenge of our job in the heat of a moment. 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 continued.
“A decision I know he and many others wish they never had to make. Especially when it involves someone so young,” he added. “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,” the officer said.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
In an interview with Fox News, Joseph explained what moved him to post about the situation.
“I was LeBron James before I became a police officer,” said Deon Joseph, a 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.
“I did not want to be a police officer at all. Being young and African American growing up in the late 80s and 90s, which were very violent and turbulent times, I thought that the police were basically our natural enemy,” Joseph said. “It’s almost like a rite of passage — if you’re African American, you have to hate the police.”
Joseph opted to join the LAPD after his family business shut down following the Rodney King riots.
“I was struggling that inner struggle with my blackness. ‘Was I betraying my people?’And of course the answer was no.”
“Once I joined the academy, all the stereotypes that I was fed about police kind of disappeared,” Joseph told Fox News.
“We need to stop the tribalism and the dehumanization of each other,” he urged.
“He is also a victim, just like I was,” Joseph said about the NBA star. “If I wasn’t a police officer and all I saw in the media 24/7 was ‘The police hate Black people,’ ‘The police are out to get people of color,’ I would probably feel the same way.”
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