In a case of tragically unfortunate timing, protestors held a police brutality rally in New York City’s Washington Square Park over the weekend. Though planned for some time, the event came just four days after an on-duty police officer was shot and killed while running down a suspect on FDR Drive. While the murder of an officer in the line of duty and the unreasonable death of innocents at the hands of cops are both clearly horrific situations, the confluence of these two events has caused a heated feud between the NYPD and director Quentin Tarantino.
Known for his ultra-violent films, Tarantino was a featured speaker at the Washington Square protest. He marched with the crowds and later took the podium to rally them. According to reports, Tarantino remarked that police officers have too often become “murderers,” especially recently. “When I see murders, I do not stand by,” the director said. “I have to call a murder a murder and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”
Based on those words, Tarantino would most certainly call the man accused of killing the NYPD street cop last week a murderer. And though he noted that the timing of the protest was “unfortunate,” the police union has taken an aggressive stance against him.
“It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too,” president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Patrick 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.’”
The union has called for a boycott of Tarantino, a move that would most directly affect the upcoming December release of The Hateful Eight. They’re not limiting it to just that film, however, as they also appear to be urging people to avoid all of Tarantino’s past works.
The situation highlights a distressing dichotomous split when it comes to dealing with such sensitive topics as police-involved deaths. Many police officers put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect society, and when one of them is shot dead, it’s the definition of tragic. But to label someone speaking out against unwarranted violence as a “cop-hater” spewing “Cop Fiction” is to minimize equally tragic events that have captured the nation’s attention far too often recently. People shouldn’t kill people, regardless of which side of the bullet the badge sits.