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When Celebrities Weigh In about Policing: Los Angeles Police Officer Writes to LeBron James


Lately, it seems the police are more in the news than the criminals they arrest.

The mainstream media seems determined to turn the police force into some kind of racist, evil force bent on killing people of color in cold blood, when in actuality, nothing could be further from the truth.

To add fuel to the fire, you have celebrities weighing in with their opinions about how the police should conduct themselves.

Three days ago, Fraternal Order of Police National Vice President Joe Gamaldi excoriated Joy Behar for her ignorant comments about how policing actually works.

In an interview on Fox News, Gamaldi said:

GAMALDI: I’d like to thank Joy Behar for weighing in with her years of police experience. And this is the problem. People don’t do any research before they put out a message to a platform of millions.

Why don’t we have a discussion about warning shots, Joy? They’re prohibited in every single police agency and, oh yeah, a simple law of physics: what goes up must come down. So those bullets are going to come down somewhere. And this other idea of shooting someone in the leg, first of all, someone had the femoral artery in their leg. Not only that, we shoot center mass because that is the largest target. If that officer misses and hits the girl next door and the one who is the actual victim in all of this, how is that going to play out?

And I see this happen every single time there’s a shooting. Why didn’t the officer karate chop the knife out of their hand or roundhouse kick? It is completely ridiculous. It’s not grounded in any facts or any training the law enforcement does. But once again, they put this out to millions of people with no factual basis whatsoever…

Gamaldi was responding to comments that “The View” co-host Joy Behar had made about the Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant last week.

According to the Washington Times, Behar said:

“I’ve looked at the tape and I still can’t figure it out,” she said. “Shoot the gun in the air as a warning, Tase a person, shoot them in the leg, shoot them in the behind. Stop them somehow. But if the only solution is to kill a teenager, there’s something wrong with this. There’s something very, very wrong with the way these things are being conducted. Even if the cop had to do it, there’s something wrong with it. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Folks on Twitter were quick to respond to the ridiculousness of Behar’s statement:

But uninformed as her comments may have been, at least Behar’s comments did not rise to the level of dangerous.

Unlike Lebron James, who tweeted a picture of one of the police officers involved in the incident with the caption: “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” along with an hourglass emoji over the image of the officer.

James eventually took the tweet down but not before incurring severe criticism from many on the right, including President Trump, for using his celebrity status to target a cop.

On Sunday, Newsweek reports that LAPD officer Deon Joseph criticized James in a Facebook post, slamming the LA Lakers player over his comments.

Here is a portion of his letter:

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.”

“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.

“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.”

…”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 needs 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.”

Deon Joseph’s thoughtful letter emphasizes how difficult a police officer’s job is, and why people on the outside should not pretend to understand what happens in high-stress situations like the ones police officers have to face every single day.

Even though Lebron had attacked cops, Joseph responded with thoughtfulness and gentleness, even praising Lebron for the good things he has done, while holding him accountable for his words.

Joseph’s letter illustrates the restraint and self-control that most cops have to learn in order to their jobs.

Celebrities like Behar and Lebron might want to take a page out of that book.





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