Sunday, November 16, 2014

AN INTERVIEW WITH SENIOR LEAD OFFICER SKID ROW COP DEON JOSEPH

I COULD BEAT HIM AT ARM WRESTLING, EASY

For The Tidings' arts and culture column this week, I worked up a piece on Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph whose beat is L.A.'s Skid Row. It begins:

"When you drive into downtown L.A.’s Skid Row, you feel suddenly and violently cut adrift from all the markers that signal civilization.

I learned of Senior Lead Office Deon Joseph through an article he wrote last August for Downtown News. He sounded human. He responded quickly to my request to talk. I’d come down to the station, we agreed. Always nicer in person.

Joseph is 41, with the stocky build and huge arms of a guy who likes to keep order.

“I was raised in a rough part of Long Beach. My father grew up in the Jim Crow South. He saw his great-grandfather murdered by a 16-year-old who wanted my great-grandfather to walk in the street because he was walking on the sidewalk,” Joseph said.

“He and my mother loved children. They raised four, adopted three, and took in 41 foster children: crack babies, sexual abuse, homeless. My father hired ex-felons. My mother fed the homeless.”

He never wanted to be a cop. “Like many African-American males, I was indoctrinated to hate the police.” But then his father’s contracting business crashed after the Rodney King riots."

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

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