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Letters to the Editor — April 24, 2021
LeBron James’ inflammatory tweet about the Ohio cop who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant “put a target on the back” of police everywhere, according to an LAPD officer who wants to meet with the NBAer and help him “understand the reality of the profession.”
James, 36, 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 that he hoped his message reaches the famed hoopster, so the two can sit down and talk about the reality of policing.
“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.”
The officer praised James for his acts of charity and for being a “family man,” but noted that his “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,” 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 his tweet, James wrote: “This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism,” adding that he was “so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police.”
“I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” he wrote.
Ma’Khia was reportedly shot dead after calling police for help when two women started fighting with her outside her home.
Police opened fire as she lunged at one of the women with a knife, according to dramatic footage released by police.
Reardon, the officer who killed the girl, has been assigned to desk duty while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation looks into the shooting.
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