LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles Police Department officer took to Facebook Sunday to write a lengthy letter to Lakers player LeBron James hoping the two can sit down together and talk about the realities of policing.
LAPD Officer Deon Joseph started his letter by saying, “I am not going to come at you from a place of hatred. There will be no name-calling. 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.”
He continued, “…But… Your current stance on policing is so off base and extreme. Your tweet that targeted a police officer in Ohio who saved a young woman’s life was irresponsible and disturbing. 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.”
Joseph was referencing a recent tweet James sent out then quickly deleted which showed a photo of the officer believed to have shot and killed a Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, in Columbus, Ohio, calling for accountability.
In the since-deleted tweet, James wrote, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” in an apparent reference to the consequences faced by former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who has been convicted of murdering George Floyd last May.
The tweet garnered thousands of comments — many of them negative — likes and retweets before it was deleted hours after being posted.
In a later tweet, James said he took it down “because [it’s] being used to create more hate.”
I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its 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
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
Joseph mentioned James’ follow-up tweet saying, “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.”
Joseph said that he hopes his letter somehow reaches James and the two can sit down together 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 said.
“Just putting it out in the universe brother. Even if not me, please take the time to talk to a police officer instead of judging them. No shade. Thanks for all the positive things you do.”
James has not yet responded to the letter.