NEWS & ANALYSIS

Police Officer Writes Open Letter to ‘Off Base’ LeBron James


A Los Angeles police officer wrote an open letter to LeBron James, requesting a meeting to discuss policing in America. 

The basketball star turned political activist can’t seem to avoid the headlines after tweeting and deleting a photo of the officer involved in the Ma’Khia Bryant shooting with the caption “you’re next.” 

Deon Joseph, a well-known police officer, isn’t pleased with James, and made it clear in his Facebook post Sunday. 

“I am not going to come at you from a place of hatred. There will be no name calling,” the letter began. “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.” 

“Instead of apologizing, you deflected,” the letter continued. “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,” 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. Unlike some who have dug their heels 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 disdain 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,” he continued. 

“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.”