Film director Quentin Tarantino has been in the news recently over comments he made at a rally against police brutality in New York City. In an interview, he was quoted as saying:
“I’m a human being with a conscience. And when I see murders, I do not stand by . . . I have to call a murder a murder and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”
Mind you, this was at a sensitive time for New York police officers. Just four days earlier, Officer Randolph Holden was shot and killed while chasing a suspect.
The backlash from the New York police union was quick, and officials didn’t mince any words. Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, responded thusly:
“The police officers that Quentin Tarantino calls ‘murderers’ aren’t living in one of his depraved big-screen fantasies — they’re risking and sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect communities from real crime and mayhem. New Yorkers need to send a message to this purveyor of degeneracy that he has no business coming to our city to peddle his slanderous ‘Cop Fiction.’ It’s time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s films.”
Of course, now police organizations across the country are following suit by calling for others to join the boycott.
This week, Mr. Tarantino is quoted in a Los Angeles Times interview, saying:
“All cops are not murderers…I never said that. I never even implied that.”
If that was his attempt to further explain himself, I don’t think it worked out so well for him. But he is very right on one point.
Not all cops are murderers.
Therein lies the frustration that has permeated through the ranks of law enforcement across the country.
At rally after rally, protest after protest, the message is there is an epidemic of police violence and killings — that the police are out of control, and that police officers are murderers.
Through his comments, Mr. Tarantino just reinforced that message again.
Without ever having spoken to an officer involved in a shooting or knowing anything about the character or integrity of the officers, he said they are simply murderers.
These kinds of statements wear on anyone who puts on a uniform and goes out every day trying to do the best job he or she can.
Mr. Tarantino says he is a “human being with a conscience.” Is the implication police officers involved in shootings have no conscience?
Of the nearly estimated 1 million police officer in the United States, only a fraction have ever been involved in a shooting.
Unlike the Hollywood fantasies portrayed in the movies, most officers go their whole career without ever having been in a shooting of any kind.
What Mr. Tarantino should do is sit down with some police officers, have a beer and ask them what it’s like to make life-and-death decisions in a fraction of a moment. I’m sure he’d quickly find out police officers are “human beings” with a conscience.
I hope there are at least a few police officers willing to make that offer. I’d be glad to sit down with him myself, although I do have to admit I’ve only seen two of his movies.
I’m sure if he’s a halfway decent guy, he’ll sit down and listen. Maybe it will help him get a better understanding of not only what police officers are experiencing, but also who they are.
Like Mr. Tarantino himself said, “I’m used to people misrepresenting me; I’m used to being misunderstood.”
Every police officer in this country couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. Tarantino.
We’re all misunderstood.
Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at email@example.com.