AN LAPD officer has slammed LeBron James for "putting a target on the back" of the officer who shot dead 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant.
Deon Joseph shared an open letter to the NBA star in the wake of his controversial tweet when he tweeted an image of Ohio cop Nicholas Reardon along with the caption: "You're next. #ACCOUNTABILITY."
In a lengthy Facebook post uploaded on Sunday, Joseph criticized James' anti-cop stance as being "so off base and extreme".
While praising the 36-year-old Lakers player's "huge heart" for his work with children and "other acts of charity", the disgruntled cop condemned his lack of understanding of law enforcement as "irresponsible and disturbing."
"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," Joseph continued.
"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."
Ma'Khia Bryant was fatally shot by officer Reardon on April 20, just moments before Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd.
Amid a wave of outrage, James took to Twitter to vent his anger and shared the since-deleted tweet with his 49.6 million followers.
The post was condemned by users, with Arkansas Sen Tom Cotton accusing him of "inciting violence" against police and former baseball star Lenny Dykstra apologizing "on behalf of pro athletes, current and former" for making a " very real, ongoing threat to the life of the officer".
Former President Donald Trump branded the tweet a "racist rant", while jibing: "LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA."
The View's Meghan McCain also chimed in, saying LeBron had put the Ohio cop "in danger" by tweeting his picture.
But officer Joseph's moving message has pulled at user's heartstrings after he offered an olive branch, by sharing his hope to "one day sit down with and talk," with James.
"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," 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."
Joseph then reiterated his offer to give James a "real honest and open conversation with a cop."
He ended the poignant post with: "No shade. Thanks for all the positive things you do."
It has since been shared widely across social media, while amassing over 5,000 likes, 2,500 shares, and hundreds of comments.
The positive reception to his sincere message saw Joseph share a video on Monday, setting the record straight that it is not a "me versus Lebron" and assuring social media users: "there’s no vitriol."
He continued, "I don’t want this to be adversarial. I’m not calling him out. I’m not trying to shame him.
"I want to have a conversation."
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