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Deon Joseph, who has worked for the Los Angeles Police Department for over 24 years, published a letter to LeBron James Sunday asking to meet the NBA star to explain policing and to have an honest conversation about the times we’re living in. Joseph, who has spent over two decades working the L.A. skid row beat, once told the Los Angeles Times that “I came here to save lives, not to stand by and watch people die.”
Joseph, a hulking figure whose approach to the skid row problem has attracted the likes of CNN and the L.A. Times, acknowledges it’s a long shot to meet with LeBron over policing in America, but he’s trying anyway. “I don’t care if I’m talking to the president. If someone out here is talking to me, I have to respond because they have been ignored by society for too long. That won’t be me,” Joseph told CNN in 2016.
Now Deon Joseph is responding to LeBron and his stance on policing.
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.
What you do for children, and other acts of charity shows a huge heart. You show to be a family man, and that’s to be respected. You play for the team my family has cheered for since the 1960s, then myself since 1979. 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.
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.
Unlike some who have dug their heals 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 distain you have. And even if you come away feeling the same way, I could respect it, because at least you gave the other side your ear instead of only hearing one narrative.
The offer is on the table Lebron. No cameras. No fanfare. Just two men who care talking. I know it’s a long shot. But this division and hatred must stop. 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.
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.
The ball is officially in LeBron’s court. Deon’s all ears if he’d like to talk. In the meantime, you might want to read up on Deon’s approach to policing and his thoughts on the profession. This man should be appearing on all network cable stations.
Oh? The cities that turned their backs on their police force and bowed down to extremist? You don’t say. 🤔 https://t.co/UJlUkLcgWf
— Deon Joseph (@ofcrdeonjoseph) April 18, 2021
WHAT’S A GOOD COP?Often I get wonderful compliments about the outreach I engage in on Skid Row. From hygiene kits to…
Feeling quite HOOD BOUSHY at the moment. Rough five day stretch. I love y’all, but don’t call me for 💩. Chocolate Thundah is RE-THUNDARIZING. pic.twitter.com/Sf3P7XL5jd
— Deon Joseph (@ofcrdeonjoseph) April 11, 2021