A well-known Los Angeles police officer took LeBron James to task and said that the Lakers star’s demagoguery and attacks on law enforcement hurt the minorities James claims to want to help.
This week, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Deon Joseph wrote an open letter to LeBron James, calling his attacks on police “irresponsible and disturbing” and asking for a meeting to discuss better ways to approach the police/community divide.
Thus far, it looks like James is ignoring the officer’s entreaties, but the media isn’t. Joseph appeared on Fox & Friends on Thursday and scolded the Lakers player for assuming that the police are “the enemy.”
Joseph added that when he was a teenager, he also felt the police were adversaries.
“I was a young, African American male in society. And when I came up, I came up in the late 80s and 90s and early 90s,” Joseph told Fox host Steve Doocy. “So that was a very violent and turbulent time. But also, it was a time of anti-police sentiment where, you know, we had the Rodney King incident … and all these other things. And all my family and friends, we kind of had to share this monolithic view that all police were inherently our enemy. They were our natural enemy.”
The officer added that culture also “bombarded” him with anti-police messages. He insisted that he didn’t want to be a police officer when he was younger, but once he did, the wool was lifted from his eyes.
“But once I stepped across that line,” Joseph said of becoming a cop, “I discovered that the vast majority of police officers are just hard-working, decent human beings from all walks of life. And that 90% of what’s said about police officers is just not true. We’re not perfect. Yes, there’s a negative exception. But there’s an honorable rule to them that we need to talk about them as well, to get balance.”
Joseph added that James needs to stop the attacks and realize those police officers are human beings.
“I think he would see the relationships that we do have, you know, if you step away from the TV set, if you step away from your smart device, you’ll see that relationship I have with the community I serve, they’re like my family, you know.,” Joseph said.
The officer is known as the “Angel Officer,” added that he would love to do something productive with someone like LeBron James:
I would like to work with someone like LeBron, who has some influence, who can influence all communities together, meet with police, again, to create this synergy where, you know, they understand the job we have. And also, they can hear from us that we do care about them and want to make things better. We may not always agree, but there’s no hatred in our hearts towards any sector of the community. You know, it’s just some communities may be worse than others that would need our attention. But their skin is not their sin, disparity doesn’t always equal bias. You know, sometimes it’s just the data that drives us to the community. When you have 20 people getting stabbed on one block, we have to be there. And if we’re not people die.
Joseph also slammed the growing list of politicians who are disgorging hatred toward the police.
“I don’t mind Joe on the corner, on social media all day watching collages of cop hate videos is upset. But when we start hearing our politicians espousing the same rhetoric, that’s when it’s time to be concerned,” Joseph said. “And what they end up doing is tire tying our hands over time, and actually hurting people of color in some of the most marginalized communities that we signed up to serve and protect as well.”
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