The LAPD officer that wrote an open letter to LeBron James blasting him for his "hateful" tweet said that he's still waiting on a response from the basketball star...
Now, the incident in question unfolded on April 20th in Columbus, Ohio.
At around 4pm, police officers responded to an emergency call over an attempted stabbing.
Upon their arrival, they found a sixteen-year-old girl, who has since been identified as Ma'Khia Bryant, attempting to stab another girl.
After attempting to diffuse the situation, one of the officers opened fire and, despite CPR being performed, Ma'Khia was killed.
Bodycam footage provided by the police shows an altercation with a group of individuals outside a house...
Before one of them - said to be Ma'Khia Bryant - appeared to lunge at another member of the group with a knife in hand.
Then, a police officer approached the group in the driveway and shouted "get down" before firing several shots, fatally injuring the girl.
The officer can be heard saying in the footage, "She had a knife, she just went at her."
A bystander, however, shouted that she was just a child.
Ma'Khia's aunt, Hazel Bryant, told reporters that her niece had got into a disagreement with another girl at the foster home in which she resided.
She later said the teen called the police, her father, and grandmother for help, and grabbed a knife to protect herself.
"She was a good kid. She was loving," Hazel Bryant said, "Yeah, she had issues but that's OK. All of us go through sh*t... She didn't deserve to die like a dog in the street."
As soon as the news of Ma'Khai's death broke, Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation launched an investigation into the events that took place.
Mayor Andrew Ginther told reporters that information will be released as quickly as possible before adding that, as a father, he was grieved by what happened.
"The city of Columbus lost a sixteen-year-old girl today. We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community. But a family is grieving tonight. And this young sixteen-year-old girl will never be coming home."
Protesters quickly gathered at the scene...
Many holding signs saying: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."
"It is absolutely devastating that I am driving home from an appointment in elation, honking my horn in jubilation, filled with hope in thinking there's maybe a turn that the nation deserves, and then simultaneously all of those feelings of positivity brought down to devastation in the blink of an eye is devastating," Thomas-St. Clair said.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has since been identified as Officer Nicholas Reardon.
Officials say that Officer Reardon, who has been a Columbus police officer since December 2019, has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
Of course, opinions on Reardon's actions that day are mixed...
Officer Nicholas Reardon shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant. She was 16 and she only had a knife and was shot 4 times. There’s a lot of people focusing on “what if’s”. The other girls are safe. But Ma’Khia is dead. You cannot justify that.— Destiny Brown (@destinybr0wn) April 22, 2021
With many slamming Officer Reardon for shooting a sixteen-year-old girl and saying that it is yet another example of systematic racism.
But on the other hand, others have applauded Reardon for saving the life of the young girl at risk of being stabbed...
@ColumbusPolice Officer Nicholas Reardon is a hero.— SophiaPv8 (@AfcnViolet) April 21, 2021
He saved a young girl from a knife attack.
Thank you Officer Reardon.
With some even hailing him as a hero.
But regardless of what people think of Officer Reardon's actions, another Black person has lost their lives at the hands of the police force...
I see the conversation around Ma’Khia Bryant dying down, and I get the collective fatigue. But damn, Black girls & women rarely ever get the same kind of outrage.— Bené (@beneviera) April 24, 2021
And people are unbelievably tired of it.
Basketball legend LeBron James is one of those people.
ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail! 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎👑— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
LeBron took to Twitter in the wake of Ma'Khia's death to express his sorrow and anger over yet another Black life being lost.
"ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil' girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!"
But LeBron then seemed to take things a step too far with a follow-up tweet about Officer Reardon...
And his tweet has resulted in people across the country have taunting the basketball player.
People really weren't impressed by his angry tweet...
LeBron James hates ALL law enforcement officers and his deleted tweet proves it.— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) April 21, 2021
And this was just one of the hundreds of messages aimed at him.
LeBron tweeted a picture of Officer Reardon on April 21st...
This man saves a girl from getting stabbed. LeBron James threatens him bc he doesn’t wait for the facts and then deletes the tweet.— Meseidy | Femininity🌸Self-reliance🌿Freedom🗽 (@itsmeseidy) April 21, 2021
Funny, not everything is racism LeBron. pic.twitter.com/dUDAFTiyVV
Along with the caption, "YOU'RE NEXT. #ACCOUNTABILITY."
Upon seeing the backlash, the basketball star swiftly deleted his tweet...
I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its 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— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
And he explained his decision in a follow-up tweet shortly afterward.
"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."
Although the basketball player gave a reasonable explanation for his controversial tweet...
It hasn't stopped criticism.
Many conservative figures have been calling upon his high-profile sponsors to drop him completely... including Candace Owens, of course.
If America was a country that believed in justice, Lebron James would be stripped of all of his sponsorships. https://t.co/LNyygUnFvu— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 22, 2021
"If America was a country that believed in justice, LeBron James would be stripped of all of his sponsorships," she tweeted.
There have even been calls for LeBron's upcoming movie, Space Jam 2, to be boycotted...
Boycott Space Jam— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 21, 2021
Lebron threatens police
Because LeBron "hates the police," apparently.
And as reported by Outkick, a bar in Ohio has even gone as far as to stop televising any of LeBron's games in protest.
Taking to Facebook, Jay Linneman, the owner of Linnie's Pub, wrote:
"If anyone wants to watch an NBA game, don't come to Linnie's Pub. We will not air them until LeBron James has been expelled from the NBA."
But thankfully, it seems as if LeBron isn't too worried about his career or reputation...
Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp. 🥴 https://t.co/RRfRksjckM— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 24, 2021
As he sarcastically replied to the bar's banning of him on Twitter by saying:
"Aww Damn! I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp."
But now an LAPD police officer has hit back.
Sharing an open letter to James, Deon Joseph made his views clear.
"Dear Lebron: I am not going to come at you from a place of hatred," he started.
"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."
"...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."
And recently, that same police officer has explained why he put the offer out there on a segment on Fox News.
He said that it "could have been him."
"That officer could've been me," Joseph said. "I'm thinking of four times in my career where I almost had to use deadly force on somebody and I didn't sleep for two days and one of those instances, I was this close to shooting a young man to save other people."
Joseph then repeated his stance, calling for James to apologize for his tweet.
"If he doesn't feel like it, he doesn't have to. I just thought it would be good if you know you're wrong on an issue that you say I got this one on accountability, but this one I got wrong."
So far, LeBron has not taken him up on the offer yet, but you never know what could happen in the upcoming days...
Watch the full video of the veteran police officer discussing his views on the events here:
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