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Sports Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James on police shootings: 'We are scared as Black people in America'

05:10  26 august  2020
05:10  26 august  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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LeBron James said his "emotions are all over the place" after the shooting of Jacob Blake. "I know people get tired of hearing me say it but we are scared as Black people in America ," James The Lakers lead the Blazers 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs in Orlando, where the two teams meet

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Following the Los Angeles Lakers Game 4 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night, LeBron James spoke at length “I know people get tired of me saying it, but we are scared as Black people in America . Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.”

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. —  The language and tone fully captured LeBron James’ ongoing frustration with police killing unarmed Black people.

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Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James has expressed his anguish at the shooting of Jacob Blake, Wisconsin man left fighting for his life in hospital after a police officer shot him seven times in the LeBron James sports a Black Lives Matter jersey while warming up for a game: Getty Images.

But we are scared as Black people in America . Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.” James sounded annoyed, exasperated and tired as he spoke for nearly 15 minutes following the Lakers ’ 135-115 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

“It’s just (expletive) up in our community,” James said. “I know people get tired of hearing me say it. But we are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.”

With horror, James watched footage that showed police officers shooting Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, Wis., seven times. James expressed gratitude “through the grace of God that he’s still living” and offered support and prayers toward the Blake family.

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James also expressed frustration with yet another incident of police brutality toward unarmed Black people.

“If you’re sitting here and telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him or just before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here and lying to not only me,” James said. “But you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community. because we see it over and over and over.”

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LeBron James took note when the Los Angeles Lakers built an early 24-8 lead over the Trail Blazers on Kobe Bryant James spoke at length about the shooting , which has sparked violent protests. '' We are scared as Black people in America ,'' James said. '' Black men, Black women, Black kids.

LeBron James et al. standing in a room © Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports LeBron James

They saw it in 2013 when George Zimmerman  shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin despite being unarmed and wearing a hoodie in his Florida neighborhood. They saw it in 2014 when a police officer choked and killed Eric Garner. They saw it in March when three police officers mistook Breonna Taylor as a suspect for an ex-boyfriend’s laundering operation and killed her while she was asleep. They saw it on Memorial Day weekend when a police officer knelt and killed George Floyd. And they saw it on Sunday when Kenosha police responded to a domestic incident by shooting Blake seven times as he was walking unarmed toward his car.

“There were multiple moments where if they wanted to, they could’ve tackled him. They could’ve grabbed him,” James said. “They could’ve done that. Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing and his family is there and the kids are there. It’s in broad daylight. If that video is not being taken by that person across the street, do we even know if we even see that video?"

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James said the vandalism illustrated the difficulties black people faced in America . Officer Norma Eisenman, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said that the act of vandalism at James ’s home was being investigated as a hate crime and that the slur had been painted over by the

The Lakers have been in turmoil ever since James injured his groin on Christmas Day. With him out for nearly five weeks, the Lakers plummeted in the Western Conference standings. It’s going to happen randomly throughout a season. The important thing is we just don’t let it happen again on Thursday.”

James sounded annoyed, exasperated and tired as he spoke for nearly 15 minutes following the Lakers’ 135-115 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. He had wanted to relish the Lakers’ Game 4 win that gives them a 3-1 series lead. He had wanted to honor former Lakers legend Kobe Bryant as the team honored what would have been his 42nd birthday Sunday if not for his passing seven months ago. But no.

“I can’t even enjoy a playoff win right now, which is the sad part,” James said.

LeBron James et al. walking on the court: LeBron James spent much of his postgame interview time speaking on the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. © Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports LeBron James spent much of his postgame interview time speaking on the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

Another sad part? James had spoken at length about this topic already for the past four months. He became among the first athletes to speak out about Floyd’s killing. He had devoted several post-game press conferences calling for police to be held accountable for Taylor’s killing. And on Monday, James detailed how Blake’s shooting captures why many in the Black community distrust law enforcement.

“You have no idea how that cop that day left the house,” James said. “You don’t know if he woke up on this side of the bed, you don’t know if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed, you don’t know if he had an argument at home with his significant other, you don't know if one of his kids said something to him and he left the house steaming. Or maybe he just left the house saying that today is going to be the end for one of these Black people. That’s what it feels like.”

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No wonder James said “I got nothing nice to say about those cops at all.”

Moments later, James detailed what reforms need to happen so that police are held accountable when they kill unarmed Black people.

First, James argued the entry-level requirements need to change.

“I don’t want to sit here and say 'I know what should be done.' But I did see one thing about the level of time in the academy before you become a police officer,” James said. “We got kids that’s going to college three and four years, six years to get their master's [degree] or they even go again, and they still didn’t even get the opportunity at the workspace, or the job that they actually want to get. But we have people going into the academy who’s becoming police officers in a year or two.”

Secondly, James called for gun reform.

“Firearms are a huge issue in America,” James said. “I don’t know how you clean that up. I’m not saying that I’ve got all the answers, but guns are a huge issue in America. They’re not used for just hunting that a lot of people do for sport. Right now for Black people right now when you’re hunting, we think you’re hunting us. Unfortunately, there’s just too many killings going on. Not only from the cops, but we also have our own thing that we got to deal with, that we gotta get better at as well, with Black-on-Black crime.”

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Perhaps some of these changes can happen through the polls. That partly explains why James founded “More than a Vote,” an organization aimed to improve voter registration and reduce voter suppression in the Black community. James added the organization has partnered with the NAACP to enroll young people to help as poll workers to protect the elderly from the coronavirus. Nonetheless, James stressed that changes “doesn’t only end in November, but it starts there” on Election Day.

“Being organized and having a plan and keeping our feet on the gas pedal is something that we’ve got to do,” James said. “I know I’m all over the place, but my emotions are all over the place as well.”

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James on police shootings: 'We are scared as Black people in America'


Video: 'We are scared as Black people' - LeBron James (Reuters)

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