Deon Joseph – Liberty University Convocation
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Deon Joseph – Liberty University Convocation

November 17, 2019

>>DAVID NASSER: Many of you know, and it’s
very much a heavy thing on our hearts, how today in this particular moment in history
there seems to be a lot of strife between police officers and just regular men and women
on the street, especially in the inner city. Many of you know that our country right now
is riddled with just a lot of confusion, a lot hatred, a lot of anger towards the way
that maybe somebody would be treated because of the color their skin or because of the
economic bracket that they’re in, by the very people that are supposed to protect them.
And you know that there’s nothing uglier than when someone who is in the ministry, or someone
who is a police officer, or someone who’s a soldier and has been mantled with this responsibility
of being a caretaker becomes the very people who end up hurting the most. And so in environment
like that, it’s even more imperative; it’s even a great opportunity for us to see a police
officer who actually models the very way that a police officer should be. We were talking
backstage and we were saying what a sad thing it is that Deon Joseph is a rare kind of officer
of Skid Row; many of you have seen information about him, you’ve seen videos about him on
CNN, many of you have watched his talk from Catalyst conferences. He really just speaks
out of his own life and his own experiences. He’s gonna share four or five different stories
today, just from his beat – just from his own life, but before he does come up, before
we watch this video, I just want to say that he’s not just alone today with us, he’s brought
his whole family, and everyday when these police officers get in harm’s way, when
they go to work, they leave behind a wife and kids who know – who know that there’s
very much a chance that a phone might ring, and that in an effort to protect, that they’ve
been harmed and it just takes an entire family’s investment. And so we want to say thank you
to you, sir, but we also want to say thank you to your family who’s here today, for the
way that you serve, not just the people on Skid Row, but the way that you model what
a police officer should be. Let’s watch this very quick video about Deon Joseph, and then
Joseph will come up and speak to us.>>VIDEO: I’m just one block east of downtown
Los Angeles – one of the most dangerous, overlooked, marginal lines places in the United States
of America. And that’s Skid Row. Skid Row is a place where horrible things happen all
of the time. Women and children are the most vulnerable to the crimes, but you also have
gang members and drug dealers who sell drugs near rescue missions and hinder efforts to
help people in the area. This is my work; this is where God called me to be. And I believe
that with my whole heart. You know the reality here is most people don’t really like police
officers. They’re taught to hate us because they feel we’re after them because of their
social status or race or whatever. It’s really hard to meet somebody you really want to help
and have them reject you. Some of them hate my guts, and I really, truly, honestly care
about them. I try to look at people the way I see God looks at people and in spite of
all our mistakes, God still loves us. So in spite of all the mistakes a lot of the people
on skid row have made, I want to show them I love them, and I want to help make their
lives better. You’ve got to get out of your car sometimes and lose your judgmental idea
about who people are and what a good person should be, and get out there and get to know
these people because you’ll find that even though someone may have a lot of problems;
severe problems, mild problems, they’re people. Let me feel em! That’s the real deal right
there. I’m Deon Joseph, call me Deon! They’re told, “Police hate you,” but I destroy that
theory when I get out there in the street because those folks will test you. If you
say you care, they’re gonna hold you up to it. Okay, Joseph you care? Put me into housing.
That Deon? Yes Deon, you’re interested in some housing? Yeah, yeah. Okay – what I want
you to do is Thursday, go see my friend, she’s a wonderful lady. Over time, the people see
you for who you are, not what you are. They know I’m doing what I’m doing, not for harassment
but because I’m for them. All right? All right, take care! Hey! How are you? No you’re a star.
‘Cause you love the Skid Row people. I do, I do! Get to know people on the individual
basis. I know their names – I know when they’ve been sober. I know when they’re high. People
always ask me, how can you work here? How could you sit here all this time? My faith
in God is what keeps me from packing up and leaving town. This is my assignment. It’s
like a driving force that keeps me having faith in this community. It says, don’t let
them go yet, Deon. Don’t let ’em go.>>DEON JOSEPH: Hello everybody, I’m Deon
Joseph. First of all, I want to give honor and all praise to my father in heaven, God,
who has blessed my life richly. Thank you. I also want to thank Liberty University for
your hospitality – you’ve been absolutely amazing to my family and me, and we’ve been
truly blessed by it. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I just want
to tell you about my life and try to inspire you to be lights in dark places. Because we
all can agree that the world is pretty dark right now, right? We all can agree with that.
If ever the world needed us to be a light, it is right now. The other thing I want to
do is help you remove three words from your vocabulary at the beginning of any sentence.
And those words are, “I’m just a.” I’ve struggled with that my entire life for a lot of reasons,
a lot of low self-esteem, self-confidence, I would always say, “I’m just a this, I’m
just a that.” Nobody here is just a anything. You are all mighty children of a living God.
And hopefully I can inspire you to believe in that, and go out and change this world
for good. I work in a place called Skid Row – I’ve been
a police officer for 20 years. Before I go any further, I have to explain to you what
Skid Row is. Skid Row is the homeless capital of the United States of America. It’s also
considered the mecca of all things homeless in Los Angeles and beyond. Skid Row is called
a recovery zone for this reason – on every corner, there’s hope for the homeless. The
only thing Skid Row can’t do is house everybody. But there are missions who have wonderful
programs to help them get on their feet; drug programs, mental health programs, all kinds
of programs for them, right? But they have to get clean in the middle of a criminal orgy.
That’s impossible, for many of them. Think of your favorite celebrities. When your favorite
celebrity gets hooked on drugs, where do they go to get clean? Betty Ford, Malibu, Passages
– they’re doing Yoga, there’s horses running around – all to get them away from the temptation
to fail. People of Skid Row have to get better with a drug dealer inside the drug program,
and outside of their drug program. Skid Row, as a result, attracts another group of individuals:
the criminal element – gang members, loan sharks, drug dealers who descend upon Skid
Row to prey on the community. I want to talk quickly about God ordering
your steps. I did not realize that my steps were ordered to be in Skid Row. I would have
never thought as a five-year-old child, that I would be dealing with crack addicts – mentally,
I never thought that. I wanted to be a famous R&B singer. That’s what I wanted to be at
five years old. They lived the life right? But God had other plans. When I first started
my career in law enforcement, I started out in a beautiful place called Venice Beach.
Everybody knows where that is – the beach, beautiful women running around, great eating
spots. Who would want to leave there? The watch commander comes up to me after my year
of probation was up and said, “Joseph, you can’t stay here; you’ve got to go to another
division. Put in your wish list, what are your three choices?” Okay – I chose Southwest,
I think I chose Newton and I chose Central Division, which is Skid Row, but I didn’t
know what Skid Row was at the time. When I told my training officer, “I chose Skid Row
as one of my choices – I mean, Central as one of my choices,” he pulled the car over
and said, “What did you do?” Uh, “Central Division sir.” He goes, “Oh man- let me tell
you about that place- they got homeless people, they’re on crack, they smoke crack they shoot
up heroin, use needles, everybody has HIV, AIDs, Tuberculosis, mentally ill people fight
right in front of the station, it smells bad and there’s no place to eat.” Now two things about me – at the time I was
a germaphobe, the second thing is, as you can tell, I love to eat. Yeah. So being that
I’m a man of faith, I went home and I got on my knees and prayed to Jesus – I said,
“Lord you and me are good – you’ve never failed me when it comes to answering prayers- please
do not send me to this god-forsaken place called Skid Row.” Well, God’s ordering my steps – He said, “Surprise!
You’re going to Central Division.” Ugh, really? My first day driving to work, Central Division
looked like this. I’m driving North bound on the 1-10 freeway, it’s a beautiful sunny
day, it’s like 83 degrees. I’m looking at the beautiful LA skyline, the symbol of America’s
economic might and power. “That’s part of Central Division,” I said, “That’s not
so bad.” I get off on 6th Street and as I’m driving, I’m the heart of the symbol of
America’s economic might and power. I’m seeing people in business suits, I’m seeing some
cute women in business suits too – I like a smart woman, I’ll take a business suit over
a bikini and day. Use your brain ladies – use your brain. But you know how you go to some bad places
and they kind of warned you first? You know, it kind of gradually gets bad? That did not
happen. As soon as I crossed Spring Street, it’s as if I tripped and fell into Dante’s
Inferno, Mad Max Thunderdome, Waterworld, any natural disaster movie that you can think
of, I was in it, and everything my training officer said was true. There were people,
rows and rows of people, who look like me, destroying themselves with crack, heroin,
beer – having sex on the sidewalk, defecating on the sidewalk with a porta potty right next
to ’em because the gangsters wouldn’t let them use the toilet. The smell was a combination
of blood, feet, and fish. And it grabbed you by the nose hairs and shook you. I thought
it would get better when I got into the station. The smell, same smell that was outside the
station, was inside the station as I saw drug dealers, drug addicts, mentally ill people
who haven’t bathed in days, yelling, fighting, cursing at each other and screaming in states
on mania. And I said, “God, I’m putting my transfer in today.” Apparently, he caused
it to slip my mind like the Pharaoh, and the watch commander comes up to me and says, “Joseph,
there’s this tradition here at central division that your first two months you have to work
the front desk.” I was like, “You’re looking out, God. I don’t have to deal with this madness!”
I’m at the front desk and I was wrong because the station is in the heart of where? Skid
Row. And every 5, 10, or 15 minutes we had someone from the Skid Row community coming
into the station with their arm broken backwards 45 degrees, lacerated cheeks, swollen eyes
– one guy came in one time and his intestines were hanging out. And they didn’t even want
a police report – they were that scared of their attacker. All they wanted us to do was
to call an ambulance and whisk them away to the hospital. That was Skid Row. And I was
like, “God, I can’t take two months of that,” I said, “God help me out here.” And I thought
He answered my prayer again. Watch commander comes up to me and says, “Joseph, your two
months are up. We’re gonna give you a patrol car; we’re gonna send you to China Town.”
Mmm, China Town – culture, great food. Instead of the kids going, “um-um,” they’re
saying, “hello.” Wonderful! Yeah, now no sooner did I park my car at Alpine
and Yale to write some tickets, I get a call. 1A1 respond to 7th and St. Julian for the
assault in progress. 7th and St. Julian, that’s in Skid Row! Go down there and a woman had
been brutally assaulted in the worst way. And as she was sitting down, she was being
difficult with us while we’re trying to help her – all the while, gangsters, loan sharks
and other crack addicts were taunting her, and taunting us while we were trying to help
her. Can you imagine living in an area like that? Horrible. Handle that call; go back
to China Town – my partner and I say, “We are not going back there.” And no sooner than
I said that, “1A1 respond to 5th and St. Julian for the ADW in progress; that’s “assault
with a deadly weapon”. We get there, there’s a man sitting on the sidewalk, he was stabbed
in the stomach, we caught his attacker. On the way to the station the attacker says,
“Ha. This ain’t going nowhere. This is Skid Row. D.A.’s gonna reject this case, I’ll
be out tomorrow.” And he was right. Then I got assigned the
Skid Row car for some reason. I don’t know what happened. And for some strange reason,
I was only there for a few weeks, maybe a month, and I started to get comfortable for
some reason. I started to yearn to want to be there, so I went home to my mother and
father, I said – very wise people – I said, “Mom, why am I working in this place that
could be easily compared to Hades, and I’m comfortable?” She said, “Son, if ever you
feel comfortable in chaos, it’s probably where God called you to be.” And I thought about
that – I said, “How could I get so comfortable?” My DNA. Please know every police officer has
a reason they’re a police officer. They didn’t pull us out of a box and we’re not robots
who walk up – protect and serve – that’s not us. My story is this – my DNA. My mother and father
raised 41 foster children over the course of their 47-year marriage. Yeah, thank you.
And I was around for about 17 of those children. These children struggled with sexual abuse,
neglect, physical abuse, you name it – we had ’em. Spent many sleepless nights with
some of the kids we had – one kid slept with knives under his pillow. Now I would watch
my parents love these kids back to health, whether they were with us two weeks or two
years. I don’t know how they did it, but it was an unconditional, un-patronizing style
of love, and these kids left our house – most of them, kicking and screaming, not even wanting
to go back to their own parents. That’s my parents. They, my parents, showed them love
from a place they didn’t expect it. Where should they have expected it? From an adult.
People of Skid Row get love from a police officer, a place they didn’t expect it. My dad grew up in the Jim Crow South. When
I’m watching these protests today, I understand, you know. I don’t discredit how they feel.
But I get angry, because they have no idea what real oppression is. My Dad grew up in
the Jim Crow South walking miles to school, being taunted by white people, things thrown
at him, extreme poverty, abandoned and neglected by his parents, living from family member
to family member, he grew up angry and in my mind, though it wasn’t right, he had every
right to be. He committed crimes; he did horrible things to survive. And then one day, during
a rainy night, he was about to rob a man and he jumps on the man, and he picks up a brick
and he’s about to smash up this man’s head with a brick to rob him of his wallet; turns
out to be a preacher. The preacher looked at my dad and said, “Young man you have two
choices. I call the police and send you away for the rest of your life, or you be at my
church every day for the next two months – every Sunday for the next two months.” Thank God
he chose the latter or I wouldn’t be here. My dad found the Lord, met my mom, joined
the military and he promised he would never do anything evil to get by, ever again. Collected
cans, dug ditches until he started his own construction company. And what he did was
he reached back and he hired individuals who reminded him of himself; people who had made
mistakes, people who had done things that were wrong, people that were passed over and
discriminated against. And my dad never called his employees, employees. He called them his
friends. I call the people of Skid Row my friend. Lastly, my mother and father fed the
homeless for 10 years – my mom did it religiously up until the point she passed away, and I
was exposed to all this – she did it in a responsible way, I can give a whole presentation
on irresponsible helping of the homeless, but that’s a different story. But she did
it in a responsible way. So while I’m in Skid Row, I realized one thing. I was home. Funny thing is, when you’re out there and
you’re being proactive, you end up developing strange relationships in Skid Row when you
open your heart. People were coming up to me and saying this, I’m not exaggerating folks,
they were coming up to me, I don’t know why – “Hey, you got God in your eyes, you’re gonna
help me. This guy, he’s chasing me, you’re gonna help me, I know you’re gonna help me.”
And sure enough, I did! I couldn’t just let them get brutalized – yes they messed up,
yes he probably owed a drug debt; I couldn’t let him because in the Bible it teaches us,
“do this for the least of these” – right? Now when the Bible says, “least,” I don’t
think they’re saying that the homeless, or black people or whatever are any less than
anyone else. What He’s commanding us to do is treat these people who the world see as
the least as you would treat anyone else, and I gave that to them. Started to develop
a reputation, started making friends, ended up back on a desk, my partner didn’t show
up to work one day – I’m at the front desk and I’m introduced to mental illness in this
way. I go to my partner; I say, “What’s going on?” He says, “Hey welcome back to
the desk, Joseph, guess what? The hur – Hurricane Linda’s back out.” I’m like, “Man, who’s the
Hurricane? Why should I be worried about her?” He goes, “Oh, she’s just some crazy lady who
comes in here, kicks down the ATM, knocks down the trash can, rips the phone off the
wall. Oh by the way, she’ll spit on you.” Now I’m a big macho guy right? I wish a mother
would spit on me, right? You’re a tough guy, right? And no sooner than I said that – she
comes into the station, foaming at the mouth, sweating, in a state of mania, knocking over
the trashcan, and for some strange reason, she sees me and stops, and says, “You’re my
little brother!” And then she goes, “It’s your birthday.” And I look at my partner,
I go, “What do I do here, boss?” “It’s your birthday, Stupid!” Whoop, whoop! It’s my birthday!
Tell her whatever she wants to hear, right? So she doesn’t go off. She runs out of the
station and I looked at my partner, I’m like, “What is about to happen here?” He says, “Brother,
I don’t know, but I’ll be in the back.” When she comes back, she has a stuffed Tweety Bird
in her hand, and slams it on the desk and says, “Hey little brother, I got this for
you!” I’m like, “Why?” She’s like, “’Cause your head is shaped just like it.” My wife always tells me I attract crazy, and
she’s right I guess. See that – that backfired on you right there! No I love you, I’m just
playing. Can I have some water? All right I’ll be in trouble tonight. Anyway, I gotta
get through this, I’m sorry. Linda and I became fast friends – thank you
so much – she would always, sometimes – thank you. Sometimes Linda would come into the station
or find me in the streets and collapse in my arms, saying that the birds were coming
to get her. And I’m like, “Linda, there’s no birds around here, but you’re gonna be
all right. You’re gonna be all right.” If you take the time really listen to people
struggling with mental illness, they are desperately trying to tell you their story inside of their
imprisoned mind. I didn’t know that at the time, but I did find out who the birds were
one day. One day I’m taking my wife to a family gathering on the 60 freeway, and this big,
ugly, burgundy van pulls up next to us and I see this head stick out, wig flies off,
false teeth come out and a little trail of drool hits my windshield, and it’s Linda,
“Hey little brother! The birds got me!” And I look, and there’s an old woman in the front
seat driving who looked just like her. In the back, her two daughters – look just like
her. It was her family who would pick her up from Skid Row and try to clean her up.
One myth about Skid Row is everybody in Skid Row is not homeless – that’s a myth. That’s
a myth, all right? My friend Linda was found dead in front of central station as she sat
on the sidewalk and injected herself with heroin. It wasn’t the heroin that killed her
– she overdosed, but she froze to death. I asked God, I literally cried, I couldn’t believe
I was shedding tears for this homeless, mentally ill woman. I said, “God, why would you put
her in my life? Why would you do that, and let me see that?” He didn’t have an answer
for me yet. Then I ran into another lady named Mimi, I
literally almost ran her over – she purposely jumped in front of my patrol car looking for
a lawsuit. I hit the breaks – errk! What the heck are you doing lady? “Oh, I’m about to
sue you!” So she says, “I would sue you but you’re cute.” Over time she and I developed
this friendship, sometimes she’d see me in my patrol car and run up to me and say, “God
bless you today, can I pray for you?” You look like you need more prayer than I do.
But she would pray for me, and even in the state of addiction. And then sometimes she’d
ask me to pray for her. And I’d be like, well, I’m a government official – I – In the name
of Jesus, let me highlight you real quick. She told me about her two daughters who she
had been desperately trying to get home to because her addiction caused them to be in
foster care, and she could never get back to them because the temptation to fail at
Skid Row was too great, even though she was in the drug program at Skid Row, she couldn’t
stay clean. Wonderful woman. For some reason, God was telling me to look past the surface
and see the good in her. And He showed it to me one night when I made a call to respond
to Skid Row. There was a man who had been kidnapped by
two homeless men inside of a tent. I get there; I’m parked right next to the tent where the
man is being kidnapped. And I’m on my PA, “Hey, did anybody see anybody get kidnapped
around here?” Hundreds of witnesses and guess what everybody said. “Nope!” They
were scared. Thinking nothing’s happening I drive off, right? And I see this skinny
shadow figurey – shadowy figure jumping up and down. I’m like, “it’s Mimi.” She comes
up to my window, “That tent you were parked right next to – there’s a man in there, Joseph
I hate this stuff! I hate this stuff! Can you please help that man?” Sure! Backed it
up, opened up the tent. Mimi was not just a crack addict, Mimi was a hero. There was
something special about that woman. But her addiction kept her from realizing it. I went on vacation 6 months later and I came
back to work, and the detective comes to me and says, “Joseph, we had a homicide on the
east side. They tell me, you’re the man who knows everything that’s going out there, can
you find out some information for me?” I said, shoot, “I know a girl named Mimi – I’ll go
out there right now, she’ll give me everything I need to know. She hates that stuff.” When
I mentioned her name, he sighs and he runs back to his desk and grabs a folder. And he
opens it up, and shows me a photo of my friend Mimi, who had been strangled to death with
a belt as she fell asleep on the sidewalk. That image never got out of my head. Once
again, I said, “God, what are you doing to me here? Why? Why would you put her in my
life for me to see her like this?” And He told me, and remember this in life, “Let tragedy
motivate you to make change.” And it did. Because I was on a terror after that, I wouldn’t
let anybody sit or sleep on the sidewalk in Skid Row ‘til 9:00. And it looked mean,
but the truth is I stopped more Mimis and Lindas from dying than any of our detractors
did, along with my fellow officers. It worked. Don’t be simple – some things that look bad
aren’t really bad, trust me, it’s not. Then God sometimes calls on you to think outside
the box, right? One day I’m driving on 5th Street in town. Thank you, thank you – clapping
for the endless thirst I love it. You guys are great. I’m on 5th and Crocker and I see
this drug dealer, and he’s in the wheel chair – he broke his leg. I pull up next to him
and he looks at me and he says, “Hey, you’re that bastard that put me away 10 years ago,
I couldn’t even make my mom’s funeral because of you.” And I looked at him and I said, “Dude
I wasn’t even on the job 10 years ago, we don’t all look alike.” But in his mind, Robo-cop,
which is what my nickname was back then, put him in jail and ruined his life, right? So
he says, “I’ll see you around. Once this cast heals up, me and my people we’ll see you around,
dead negro.” And I’m not gonna say the word ‘cause I don’t want to get in trouble, but
for two months he had his friends calling me “dead negro” as I drove by. And I was scared.
But I couldn’t take myself out of the field because if I took myself out of the field,
Skid Row would be in danger. See, I work by myself, but I had to stay out there, all right? A few months go by, I hadn’t seen him in a
while. I drove by and sure enough I see him sitting on the sidewalk – he lost weight,
he was smoking on a crack pipe and I thought, “Got him,” whoo! Got him. Get out of my car,
he sees me, “Oh, no,” smashes his crack pipe so I couldn’t book him, “Joseph, I’m sorry
man, I was playing man, I didn’t mean anything I said,” And I’m like mhmm, yeah, come get
in these cuffs, right? And then something in my spirit said, “Pray for him.” You want
to know how that feels? It’s that warm feeling that comes over your body – that’s how I described
it. It was warm, and I looked at God like, “God! He just tried to kill me!” Pray for
him. So I said, “All right, you know what you’re doing.” So I stuck out my hand, I said,
“Hey man – stand up!” “Joseph, please man.” “Dude, stand up – take my hand.” And he took
my hand, and I said, “Whatever you desire is on the other end of this prayer. Go to
it.” By the time I finished praying, the prayer was longer than that, but for the sake of
time – by the time I finished praying, I looked up and through his sunglasses there were tears
streaming down his eyes. His four gang banging homies standing next to him, there were tears
streaming down their eyes. The prostitutes across the street at the porta potties; there
were tears in their eyes! And I think one patrol car passed by; there was a tear. Now,
he won’t admit it. Couldn’t believe what they had just seen. I couldn’t believe it either.
Got in my car thinking nothing of it. See, don’t think that change is gonna come
immediately. We get molded in this fictional world where we’re gonna touch people and magically
they’re gonna be all right. Doesn’t work like that folks, all your job to do is plant the
seed, and if it comes back to you fine, you never know what God’s gonna do for you, do
for them. Because a year later he comes back to the station looking for me – I thought
it was for a complaint or something. I get to the front desk, “Can I help you, sir…
whoa!” He had gained weight, he was wearing a nice Adidas jumpsuit, same sunglasses, tears
coming out of his eyes, he says, “Joseph, take my hand.” I took his hand, he says, “Thank
you – I reunited with my wife and kids, I made amends with my mother and father and
I’m doing wonderfully.” And when I remove my hand, he had a flap from Narcotics Anonymous
showing that he was clean and sober. My last story is this; remember I told you
about “do this for the least of these,” right? Skid Row people were used to being
ignored – passed over. ‘Cause apathy can set in when you’re in service. It can set
in; it’s a human trait. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But, didn’t happen to me in
20 years. I see this woman, we’ll call her Rita, limping down the street, eye this big.
I said, “Rita, where’s your cane, Baby?” She wouldn’t talk to me. I get out of the car,
“Rita? Who did this to you?” It took me about five minutes to get her to tell me who hurt
her, and it was her husband. Her husband would pimp her out in the hotels and force her to
sell her body – a handicapped woman, making her sell her body so he can eat, right? It’s
big time in Skid Row. So I said, “How did he do that to you?” She said, “He took my
cane and beat me with it for an hour.” I said, “Rita, tell me where he is. I’m gonna get
him right now.” And this lady, you’re gonna have doubters, these ladies came out from
the rear of the Union Rescue Mission and one lady says, “Joseph, you ain’t gonna do blip.”
And I said, “Why you comin’ at me like that?” “You’re just like all the rest of them Joseph.”
And I looked at her and I said, “Rita you stay right there.” I got in my car, went to the hotel, 17th floor,
knocked on the man’s door. “Hey Joseph, how you doing?” “I’m good!” Click-click, click-click
click! Put him in the car, got her cane, took him to the station, dropped him off. On my
way to take him to jail when I said, “Wait, wait, wait stay right here buddy,” I took
his cane, drove him over to skid row, got him on the PA and said, “Hey where’s the lady
who said I wasn’t gonna do blip?” And sure enough she came out – here I am. Went out
to the car, popped the trunk, ta da! And all those ladies, ahhh! For some reason they knew
that love was here. I wasn’t gonna ignore them and it worked, so I’m almost done. So
God – having these relationships and gaining the trust of the community, them knowing that
I’m there for them got me not only favor of God because I was obedient, but also the favor
of the men and women I was charged to protect. And as a result, I was able to do these incredible
things. Remember I told you I thought I was “just
a cop?” Well this man who thought he was just a cop did this with the help of God.
I housed 150 homeless people in 10 years. Now that’s a drop in a bucket because there
are about 2,000 that sleep in the street. But that’s the 150 that wanted change, and
that’s the key word. Everybody’s not ready for change. I started a mentor program called “Just like
you” at the Union Rescue Mission. A wonderful man named Andy Bales, if you are ever in LA
please go see him, he should be standing here not me. Andy Bales said, “Do it.” I mentored
these kids and I told them that you can be more than your circumstance. God didn’t create
you to be a failure. The program spread to other parts of LA, and I did it at this juvenile
school for kids on probation for violent crimes. Once a month I would come to them and tell
them three simple words, “I love you.” They couldn’t believe it. As a result of that,
their grades went up one grade level from this man who was just a cop. Started a hygiene drive to deincentivize the
streets, and got seven officers to work in the unit called, “The Old Blue Detail” who
thought like me, I’m not the only one. Forget about what you see in the media, there are
thousands of us. And these officers went out and they were proactive and loving on Skid
Row, passing out drug programs, job programs and separating the wolves from the sheep so
the sheep could get better, all right? Last thing I did, or the last two things I
did, and I’ll be done. Last thing I did was started a program called, “Ladies Night.”
In Skid Row, the women are the most marginalized, as I stated in the video. They’re often victims
of rape. Women make up 40% of the population of Skid Row, but account for 2/3 of the rapes
in Skid Row. I started a program called, “Ladies Night,” so I could let these women know it
doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, homeless, a crack addict, a prostitute, you still have
a fundamental right to report sexual abuse and domestic violence. It doesn’t matter.
I thought only 5 women were gonna show up to the program. But because of the favor of
God, and the favor of man, 175 women from Skid Row showed up to the first night. Three
women that were in the audience that night were victims of the taxi cab serial rapist
three months before. They finally came forward and we put that man away for the rest of his
life. So many other things, but the last thing I
did was this. My heart broke when a man, mentally ill man was stabbed 8 times in the heart and
in the jugulars, so and I knew he was mentally ill. As a result of his – that my heart breaking,
I penned this article called, “Skid Row: a Mental Health State of Emergency.” You can
look it up. That article was the catalyst for starting more proactive outreach from
the city and the county to reach out to the mentally ill. And it’s still not enough, but
I’m the catalyst. The cop right? And I’m not bragging on me, I’m bragging on my God – my
God. All right. So in closing, forget about me. Think about
the most prominent men and women in the Bible. Moses was just a cat with a speech impediment
who had a murder warrant. He turned out to be the man to lead God’s people out of captivity.
Abraham and Sarah were really, really, really old – just two old people, but they became
a father of a great faith. David’s brothers thought, he was just a little 15-year-old
boy. We need some David swagger in our faith today, don’t we? I want to see 13,000 Davids
who are willing to, figuratively, not literally, throw stones into the Goliaths of people’s
lives around this world and knock ’em down so that people can be open to love and change. The man we bow to, the God we bow to every
day was just a carpenter’s son. He’s our savior. So never say you’re just an anything, you’re
almighty children of God. I want to thank you for your time, my family’s right there,
I’ve got church but I want to pray; I want to end in prayer for you guys before I leave. God, in the name of Jesus, I just ask that
you’d touch every human being in this building. I just ask that you’d make them catalysts
for change, that you order their steps as you did mine. Somebody in this room is gonna
touch – was designed and created to touch one person, and that’s okay, God. But there’s
somebody in this room who’s created and designed to touch hundreds of thousands. Lord, I pray
that you’d quicken our hearts, quicken our spirits and teach them to show love from a
place that no one expects, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.>>NASSER: Amen, brother thank you. We’ve
asked the Joseph family, yes thank you, sir. Man, you really are an American hero and I
think you represent so many people who just are salt and light. Emily would you come on
up. I’ve asked Emily is one of our own students, her brother is a police officer in New Jersey
– he puts himself in harm’s way every week. She texted me during convo and she said, “Pastor
David, I cannot wait to show this – today’s convo video to my brother. It’s gonna be such
a …” she said, “I’m so encouraged by it.” And so I just felt like she should pray over
you, she’s earned the right as family to pray over your family. Let’s just lean our hands
towards, just this incredible family and Emily will you just pray for them.>>EMILY: All right let’s pray you guys. Dear
heavenly father, I thank you so much for just the encouragement through Officer Joseph here
and I just pray for all of our families – we might know an officer or be the family members
of an officer that puts their lives in danger everyday for our safety and I just pray for
our country that you would just help us to heal over the controversy that’s going on
right now. I thank you for Officer Joseph, for the example that he leads in, for just
surrendering his life to you in all that he does, even in his workplace, Lord. I just
pray that you’ll keep him and his family safe, I thank you for his family’s support, I know
it takes a lot for them to say goodbye to him every day as he goes to work and not know
what could happen, or what’s going to happen in his day, but I pray that you’ll give them
the strength, Lord, and that you’ll strengthen all the families that are there backing up
a fellow officer like Officer Joseph here. So I want to dedicate this day to you – I
want to thank you again for their service to you and their encouragement to us. And
in the rest of our day, may you be with us and be with them. And in your name I pray.

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