Deon Joseph, a Black officer of more than 20 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, wrote a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday to address LeBron James, who faced backlash last week after criticizing the Ohio officer who shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant.
“You’re next,” James wrote in a tweet that featured a photo of an officer. The now-deleted tweet also included an hourglass emoji and the hashtag, accountability, according to the Daily Mail.
As Blavity previously reported, the officer who killed Bryant has been identified as Nicholas Reardon. However, the deputy seen in the photo posted by James hasn’t been confirmed to be Reardon.
In his response on Facebook, Joseph first acknowledged the basketball star’s dedication to his community and family. The officer continued his post, describing James’ stance on policing as “off base and extreme.”
According to Joseph, Reardon saved another young woman’s life when he shot Bryant, who is accused of having a knife in her hand.
“Your tweet that targeted a police officer in Ohio who saved a young woman’s life was irresponsible and disturbing,” the LAPD officer 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.”
Joseph also criticized James’ response to the backlash.
“Instead of apologizing, you deflected,” the officer wrote. “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 deputy extended an offer to James, hoping to sit down and have a conversation with the all-star to help him understand that not all police are “inherently evil.”
“The offer is on the table LeBron. No cameras. No fan fare. Just two men talking. I know it’s a long shot. But this division and hatred must stop,” Joseph wrote. “It’s clear based on rising crime in marginalized communities that cops and the community need to build bridges to save lives on all sides. That cannot be done through the demonization of any group of people.”
Dear Lebron: I am not going to come at you from a place of hatred. There will be no name calling. I was raised to see…
In a 2016 interview with CNN, Joseph spoke about the gruesome encounters he has faced while working on the Skid Row beat in Los Angeles.
“When I first got there, it was horrible – you’d have people walking into the station with their intestines hanging out, arms broken backward, black eyes,” he said. “And they didn’t want a police report, they just wanted to hide from their attackers.”
The Los Angeles native remembers one woman in particular who faced a setback when she tried to stop using drugs.
“A woman who lived right there had finally gotten off drugs. She was so proud,” he said. “She came back down here to show people she could change. I begged her not to. Do you know what happened? A drug dealer blew crack cocaine smoke into her face. She overdosed six times over there.”
Growing up in the era of Rodney King, Joseph detested law enforcement.
The riots which followed the attack on King ultimately affected Joseph’s family business and led him into law enforcement.
“After business crashed after the riots, I needed a job,” the policeman said. “We were broke. I put my name in many hats, and someone suggested the LAPD. I prayed for all the other jobs to call me first, but none of them did. The only one that called was the LAPD.”
James, who has faced perpetual criticism from conservatives through the years, James has continued to speak out for social justice.
“I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said in an interview with Sports Illustrated last year. “I’m not saying that all cops are bad, because I actually, you know, throughout high school and things of that nature, I’m around them all the time and they are not all bad. But when you see the videos that’s going on, and you can see not only my hometown but all over America, you continue to see the acts of violence towards my kind, I can’t do nothing but to speak about it.”