A Los Angeles police officer whose open letter to LeBron James following the Ma’Khia Bryant shooting went viral explained in an exclusive interview with Fox News what moved him to post it.
“I was LeBron James before I became a police officer,” said Deon Joseph, a 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.
“I did not want to be a police officer at all. Being young and African American growing up in the late 80s and 90s, which were very violent and turbulent times, I thought that the police were basically our natural enemy,” Joseph said. “It’s almost like a rite of passage — if you’re African American, you have to hate the police.”
However, with no other job prospects, Joseph opted to join the LAPD after his family business shut down following the Rodney King riots.
“I was struggling that inner struggle with my blackness. ‘Was I betraying my people?’And of course the answer was no.”
“Once I joined the academy, all the stereotypes that I was fed about police kind of disappeared,” Joseph told Fox News.
After James posted a tweet targeting a Columbus, Ohio, police officer involved in Bryant’s death, Joseph responded with a missive on Facebook addressed to the NBA star.