An LAPD officer has hit out at LeBron James, saying the NBA star “put a target on the back” of the cop who shot dead 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Officer Deon Joseph criticized James in a Facebook post, shared on Sunday, slamming the LA Lakers player over his comments.
James stoked controversy last week, in a now-deleted tweet, where he posted “you’re next” next to a picture of the police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. The teenager was seen holding a knife and lunging at a girl when she was shot.
James faced widespread condemnation for his comments, including from former president Donald Trump who called the remarks “racist.” The LA Lakers star later deleted the tweet and posted another where he explained why he removed his previous upload.
He said: “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because it’s 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.”
Joseph slammed James’ earlier tweet and stance on policing as being “so off base and extreme.”
He added: “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 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.”
Joseph continued: “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 humans with such a broad and destructive brush”.
The officer’s Facebook post has been liked more than 5,500 times and has been shared on some 2,700 occasions.
Joseph later uploaded a video where he said the post was not a “call out,” but “a hope for constructive dialogue.”
He added: “I’m not trying to shame him [LeBron], I want to have a conversation. And even if he doesn’t want to have a conversation with me, at least sit down someday and talk to a police officer and find out who they are instead of summing up who we are.”
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.