Police Union Boss: Quentin Tarantino Needs To Patch Up Cop-Citizen Relationships, Not Us

from the pointing-tasers,-guns-and-fingers dept

Late last month, director Quentin Tarantino participated in a rally against police brutality, where he made the following comment:

“I’m a human being with a conscience,” Tarantino said at the rally. “And when I see murder I cannot stand by. And I have to call the murdered the murdered and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

Similar words have been spoken by other people as they’ve watched unarmed citizens gunned down by police officers. But when Tarantino says it, it apparently stings a bit more.

New York City’s police union boss Pat Lynch was the first to be personally offended on behalf of the officers he (sometimes) represents.

“It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too,” Lynch said in a statement. “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,'” he added. “It’s time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s films.”

Oh, Pat. You often forget. Lynch’s officers killed one man for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes (“real crime and mayhem”) and shot another unarmed man in a stairwell (and delayed calling it in and seeking medical assistance) because a jumpy officer decided to patrol the building with his gun out. Not exactly “protecting communities,” but whatever.

The LAPD’s union soon joined the boycott, probably due to the LA-NYC connection current NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton brings to the job.

Los Angeles Police Protective League President Craig Lally said comments like Tarantino’s encourage attacks on officers and said the union would support the call for a boycott of his films.

We fully support constructive dialogue about how police interact with citizens. But there is no place for inflammatory rhetoric that makes police officers even bigger targets than we already are,” Lally said in a statement this week. “Film director Quentin Tarantino took irresponsibility to a new and completely unacceptable level this past weekend by referring to police as murderers during an anti-police march in New York.”

First, Lally leans on the fake “War on Cops” narrative (“bigger targets than we already are…”) and buttresses it by calling an anti-police brutality march an anti-police march. Lally lumps all of his officers together with this self-serving generalization. Aren’t police officers the first to say the actions of bad police officers don’t represent the whole of the force? A march targeting the actions of “bad apples” is portrayed by the union boss as being anti-tree. Fine. Have it your way, Lally. Just save us the #notallcops statements when a disgraced officer is indicted for their misconduct.

These two unions have been joined by other smaller law enforcement groups around the nation. It’s also been joined by the nation’s largest police union, the Fraternal Order of Police. These groups have demanded an apology from Tarantino for his stated opinion. The director has refused to bow to their pressure.

“All cops are not murderers,” Tarantino told The Times in his first public response to the controversy. “I never said that. I never even implied that.”

“What they’re doing is pretty obvious,” he said of his critics. “Instead of dealing with the incidents of police brutality that those people were bringing up, instead of examining the problem of police brutality in this country, better they single me out. And their message is very clear. It’s to shut me down. It’s to discredit me. It is to intimidate me. It is to shut my mouth, and even more important than that, it is to send a message out to any other prominent person that might feel the need to join that side of the argument.”

Tarantino’s right. The unions would rather shut him up than admit any wrongdoing. It would rather prominent public figures remain silent or offer their deference than actually tackle law enforcement’s myriad problems.

Hopefully, Tarantino’s boldness will prompt others similarly situated to push for more accountability from public servants, especially those authorized to use deadly force. As Chris Seaton at FaultLines points out, every little bit helps.

More and more people no longer trust the police as the time-honored public servants we once thought them to be. Because the police refuse to address the problems leading to the self-inflicted black eyes on their respective reputations, the only recourse they have is to attack those who are in positions of prominence that raise awareness of the problem.

Quentin Tarantino is the latest target. He refuses to back down, just as Thabo Sefolosha did. These are gentlemen with influence, money, and the national platform to bring more people to the table that will address police misconduct than have ever before. When those with greater resources than the average citizen decide to join the struggle against the culture of the “warrior cop,” it is highly feasible we will see a major shift in the public’s perception to a degree those of us who speak out against police misconduct never thought possible.

Because Tarantino has refused to back down, the unions seem a bit flustered. Jim Pasco, the executive director of the nation’s largest police union (Fraternal Order of Police) said this to The Hollywood Reporter:

“Tarantino has made a good living out of violence and surprise,” says Pasco. “Our offices make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question.”

“Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element,” says Pasco. “Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable.

Take these words out of a police union official’s mouth and put them nearly anywhere else and you’d expect that person to be the target of law enforcement efforts. Reason’s Scott Shackford does a little recasting of his own in an article titled “Legion of Armed, Upset Citizens Has A ‘Surprise’ Planned for Quentin Tarantino.”

If the organization in question were connected to the militia movement (by way of example) the outrage would be palpable. Is that a threat? Are they going to try to hurt Tarantino? He’d probably hire bodyguards (if he doesn’t already have them). He might consider keeping a low profile for a while. There’d probably be a federal investigation to determine whether any actual violence was being planned.

Even though Tarantino appears to be done talking about this (after recognizing he wasn’t dealing with a rational adversary), the Fraternal Order of Police isn’t. For whatever reason, The Hollywood Reporter has allowed the national president of the threat-uttering Fraternal Order of Police to post an op-ed against the director on its website.

Chuck Canterbury calls Tarantino a “very strange man” who just doesn’t understand the complexities of modern-day law enforcement. (It’s only the amount of attention paid to police-involved-shootings that has changed, not the tactics, techniques or number of them.) He admits the boycott will probably have very little effect before going on to blame everything wrong with law enforcement on everyone else.

It’s not police officers engaging in excessive force or racial profiling. It’s the government — a bigger, badder bad guy completely separated from the world of law enforcement… according to Canterbury.

Police officers are the only manifestation of government that some ever see — and then only when something’s gone wrong. Tarantino didn’t need to whip up that crowd – they’re whipped up by the colossal failure of their elected officials.

His concluding paragraph, however, is so bad it’s almost inadvertent parody.

So Tarantino race baits, and we boycott. No happy ending to this short drama — rather than trying to help heal the wounds, Tarantino picks at the scabs. Rather than conciliatory, Tarantino is stoking the fires of hate and division that have made him a very wealthy man. I hate that this movie will make him still richer, and that perhaps this boycott and whatever else we may do will be to no avail; but, as long as there are befuddled demagogues like him bashing the police, there will be folks like me trying to get the truth out there.

According to Canterbury, it’s the job of private citizens — especially those whose voices might be heard — to smooth over the widening gulf between the public and law enforcement. From where Canterbury sees it, the world of law enforcement is pristine and untroubled.

If complaints of profiling and brutality are coming from lower income areas in urban centers, the problem is the “colossal failure” of “elected officials,” rather than the actions of the officers patrolling those areas. If a prominent American fails to show anything but devout support from law enforcement, that person is “race baiting” or “stoking the fires of hate,” rather than simply pointing out truths that can no longer be ignored.

If Canterbury truly wants conciliation (and I have no reason to believe he does — he wants concession, which is something very different even if it uses some of the same letters), then law enforcement has to lead the way, not Quentin Tarantino or any other member of the public. The public doesn’t have much in the way of leverage, and it certainly doesn’t have much it can actually concede. It’s the entity coming from a position of power (a power that’s abused far too often) that should be making the first moves towards conciliation. Expecting the public to grant you all the respect you feel you deserve (more than what’s been earned) before any “healing” takes place only ensures the wound will never fully heal.

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Comments on “Police Union Boss: Quentin Tarantino Needs To Patch Up Cop-Citizen Relationships, Not Us”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Dear Police

YOU are responsible for the perception that your activities build in the American public, no the news even though they can certainly spin shit any way they want.

At the very end of the day, just as you inform innocent citizens that they have nothing to fear if they are innocent so too should you have no concerns if your actions are justified.

You spend your entire career attempting to destroy the innocent just because you have a superiority complex while protecting your corrupt cop buddies.

Excuse us citizens that doubt your “less than pristine” history!

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t see construction workers getting called murderers on a daily basis and getting a bad rap.
I don’t see firefighters getting called murderers on a daily basis and getting a bad rap.
Hell, I don’t even see the notary getting called murderers on a daily basis and getting a bad rap.
All of those jobs are more dangerous than being a cop.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Ya gotta give respect to get respect, a lesson the police need to learn

I used to respect the police. Now I will respect the police again when sites like photography is not a crime [ https://photographyisnotacrime.com ] no longer have a reason to exist. I don’t mean they are taken down for some reason, I mean when the reasons for their existence no longer exist.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: Complaining

First they complain that living as a black person in USA is difficult, and when someone does something about it they complain.

When a dear officer pinned blacks to the ground and laid his hands around their throats to help them stop resisting, it were blacks medical condition that caused them to suffocate. Repeatedly their week adams apple gave in. Even though it wasn’t the officers fault some complain.

As all blacks die, they wouldn’t survive anyway!

It is just like when torture were documented in the US torture camps. The US government understood that this were bad and took swift action; they banned camera phones in the facilities.

Rights is just another word for unwelcome meddling. Be meek, stop resisting!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This just isn’t true. I shouldn’t need to mention that MOST violent crimes are committed by people who look like their victims. You knew that though, didn’t you? Like I’m quite certain that you understand that calling out the people who betray the trust we put in them for the awesome responsibility which is keeping the peace, is NOT the same as calling out the average person for committing crime. Equating the two is akin to expecting people not to fight human trafficking without simultaneously fighting drug smuggling. Of course, if you cared to look you’d find countless examples of African Americans addressing crime, poverty, and hopelessness in our communities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Kind of a strange name for a movement whose primary purpose is to address cop violence.

I mean, they don’t even bring up the number one killer of black people: heart disease.

Tongue-in-cheek aside, black Americans commit violent crimes at eight times the national average (according to fbi stats), and the statistics on gun violence in America are actually really solid and reasonable in international comparisons – if you remove gang violence from the count. Same thing happens if you remove Detroit, D.C., New Orleans, and… I think it was Milwaukee.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good for Tarantino. I support law enforcement as the next person (and not just when I need their assistance); but these two union leaders and those corrupt officers need to be removed from their position.

Good luck with your boycott. In my opinion, Taratino should advocate this lazy approach of a police boycott just to illustrate their overzealousness in disregard of free speech instead of repairing their relationship with the citizens.

It also appears that they have instigated and continually stoked the fires of this “us vs. them” narrative. This is another example of that

Anonymous Coward says:

“Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element,” says Pasco. “Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere].”

So lemme get this straight…in response to criticism of police brutality, their union guy makes threats?

Yet another brilliantly clueless law-enforcement-type who can’t get out of the way of his own mouth.

Brian says:

Re: Police

But you support the police, right? You are just a loud mouthed anonymous coward, (perfect name btw) completely uneducated on the subject. I taught use of force and actually did the job for 21 years. The more you write the more you prove how ignorant you are on the subject. Let me give you some free and good advise….. shhhh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nice list. They should be boycotted in exchange as these cop-dramas are based entirely in fantasy and not on real life as some of them claim or assert.

Will that help anything? Not at all, but it would interesting to see that develop as a response against these unions and how they spin that one.

“If you don’t watch Law & Order you’re perpetuating a cycle of hate against law enforcement!” – Police union rep.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The worst are the reality shows, like “Steven Seagal: Lawman” — accused of staging over-the-top SWAT-type raids, just to make a spectacle for television and pump up the movie star’s tough-guy image.


Anonymous Coward says:

All Bets are off

I am a huge police supporter but I have to say there are more than just one or two bad apples in the bunch. Power is abused every day by police and they make mistakes, however, calling out the NYPD for the 2 examples of bad policing does not over shadow the hundreds if not thousands of encounters that are dangerous where they protect the people. Lets not go all myopic on this one. Its too coincidental that technology now available that wasn’t 10 15 years ago is showing a side of the Blue Curtain no-one wants to admit exists. There are more good cops than bad…I truly believe this however I do believe there are too many bad ones and even more bad people in this world. We’re all passing judgement when we should working on a solution. Cops see the worst of people day in and day out….at some point it must get to them. Kind of like running on a treadmill, you can run and run and work you ass off but never actually get anywhere. At what point do we expect the crime to cease because we caught all of the bad guys….. News flash the bad guys never stop coming and the power trip of cops will never end. Its a never ending circle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: All Bets are off

While you have good points, Crime has never been lower, and neither has violence directed at police. Why all the hyperbole by the Unions and mouthpieces then.
There’s no way around it, they’re abusing their power and like all those in power, they don’t like to be called on it. Digging heals in and doubling down will do anything but help fix the problem. How can anyone fix anything if they can’t even be honest with themselves or anyone else.

David says:

Re: Re:

More likely they are going to stop him hourly and take all his cash because he is up to no good.

As opposed to roughing him up without provocation, robbing him repeatedly at gunpoint is legal when wearing a badge. And maybe after a few times in succession, he’ll get aggressive enough to justify roughing him up as well.

And there is always the “good faith exception” to fall back on: as long as a policeman claims he thought he was allowed to do anything, he is.

There is a reason there is a threshold of intelligence beyond which you are not allowed to apply for a job as police officer as you’d be an impediment for any operation relying on the good faith exception.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think it’ll be that easy for the cops, because Tarantino has things their normal prey doesn’t:

1) A shitload of money (translates to lawyers)
2) Name recognition (assured media attention)
3) Related to 1), he has no reason to accept a settlement

– Not just lawyers: he’s a Hollywood name, which means he probably knows people working for an institution that owns a State Attorney General or two.

Anonymous Coward says:

The public is having second thoughts about police violence. The public pays their wages for the job. When the FBI can tell you how many cops were shot or killed in the line of duty but have no idea how many civilians were, that says something that can’t be covered up.

No amount of denial, no amount of media publicity, can white wash over that. It tells you what is important to the police and the public doesn’t rate in that. This attitude has become so prevalent that near every week in the news is some story of the accidental shooting of the wrong civilians who were never involved in what was alleged. The police failed in due diligence of investigation. This results in people thinking they are protecting their home from burglars and invaders, which in essence the police have become with policing for profit.

The trouble now is that it is on the national conscience and hiding these actions are becoming increasingly harder.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Note that Lynch didn’t actually claim that the cops weren’t murderers. He’s just saying that being a cop allows you to murder innocent people now and again as part of the job. Credit where credit’s due, though: he didn’t come right out and call it a “perk”.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Police officers are the only manifestation of government that some ever see — and then only when something’s gone wrong.”

I’m pretty sure most people will see public schools, and public school buses. Even for the ones that don’t, they’re almost certainly going to see tax forms. And of course there are elections, though I suppose he might not consider that a “manifestation of government”.

So the only people whose sole encounter with a manifestation of government is the police are people who:

-Didn’t go to public school and didn’t live in an area where they could see school buses
-Don’t pay income taxes
-Don’t vote

Somehow I doubt that’s a particularly large segment of the population.

David says:

Reality distortion field

“Tarantino has made a good living out of violence and surprise,” says Pasco. “Our offices make a living trying to stop violence, but surprise is not out of the question.”

So choking Eric Garner to death was supposed to be a surprise in order to stop him from the violent sale of cigarettes?

If Pasco has so little clue about what those demonstrations were about, he is unfit to represent anybody.

Anonymous Coward says:

I suppose it is only a matter of when until Mr. Tarantino is shot in the back five or six times while trying to evade arrest for selling loosies or acting suspiciously. I for one was relieved when seeing a law enforcement officer on scene, how times have changed. That just is not the case any longer. Guess it is time for me to go back where I came from. Give me liberty or put my sorry remains in the ground.

WhiteDevilBlues (profile) says:


Is it accurate that Tarantino explained police brutality as an issue of “white supremacy?” I don’t know, but I know the top commentor is a moron:

“YOU are responsible for the perception that your activities build in the American public, not the media even though they can spin shit any way they want.”

No. You are responsible for researching the opinions you hold and espouse about public issues.

You are responsible for the rumors your spread or repeat.

They are only responsible for their own words and actions, as individual cops and individual citizens.

If you surrender this standard for yourself and others, you invite terrible things for your society.

Jeff Rivett (profile) says:

No surprise

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that cops kill citizens. After all, when they’re on the job, they have the means and opportunity to do so at all times. All they need is a motive, which helpful citizens provide by merely being annoying. This has always been the case with armed authorities. But it’s only in the past few years that we’ve come to realize just how common it is, and that’s only because of video evidence. Still, for every incident recorded on video, there are probably a hundred that go unnoticed.

Brian says:


I was an Federal officer for 21 years. The media and Hollywood would like everyone to believe that the majority of people don’t trust the police. This is completely false. There were many polls and over 75% of people still trust the heroes in blue. That’s because 99% of police are great men and women. Most served in the military first. There are a few bad apples but it is impossible to vet everyone wanting to be police and get it right 100% of the time. Especially when there are over 900,000 police in the U.S. With millions of split second decisions being made everyday is amazing how many times Police get it right. A few hundred protesters go out, most of them paid by the likes of race baiters like Al Sharpton and the media wants to make it look like there a thousands out there. Many are bused from city to city, burning buildings, assaulting innocent people, and then the Democrats bail them out of jail so they can do it all again. In their own neighborhoods none the less. Its a disgusting way to try to get votes. Unfortunately horrible mistakes are made, and us police hate it as much as anyone else. No one goes to work and is perfect, and police have one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Most people don’t even understand use of force policy in the first place. I use to teach that class and many more. I have sat down and talked to family and friends while watching COPS or Live PD and they thought the police were making mistakes until I educated them on why they made these decisions, then they understood. We need commercials to educate the public on why police do certain things and what they should be doing during interactions with law enforcement.

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