Policing the police

Photo by Patrick Sison

Can we stand up against brutality without looking in the rearview mirror?

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in the Other Press. November 18, 2015

On October 24, acclaimed director and writer Quentin Tarantino stood up at an anti-cop brutality rally, supported the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, and expressed his views on the damaging results of trigger-happy authorities.

When unarmed citizens are being shot down, it’s worth speaking up. It’s not a matter to be brushed away as collateral damage. The fear that many experience when being approached by a police officer is genuine. They have guns! Tarantino goes on in his speech, labeling officers who have killed unarmed civilians “murderers.” And perhaps that was what made the Fraternal Order of Police union put Tarantino in their crosshairs.

Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, in mafia fashion, issued this statement in response to Tarantino’s rallying speech: “Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element. Something could happen anytime between now and [theHateful Eight premiere]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable. The right time and place will come up and we’ll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that’s economically.” It’s a little freaky. It’s almost as if Pasco is an evil character in a Tarantino movie.

When a police official makes a threat to a public figure, it cannot be ignored. When I think of those people protecting and defending me, I don’t appreciate the fact that they use intimidation as one of their tactics. In addition, to say the police are going to “hurt” him economically is a petty attack. Apparently we are living in a world where we have the freedom to talk about whatever we want, except we aren’t allowed to criticize police. Apparently we live in a world where the police can act above the law and face little to no repercussion, and when civilians take arms and speak out—especially those in the public eye—they get accused for being slanderous. Then they get outright bullied.

The facts are there. There is no denying that unarmed citizens were killed. Instead of opening up and saying that the policing efforts will work to prevent these incidents from ever reoccurring, the police union—or rather the police mafia—in all boldness goes and threatens the work of an artist. In another example of this, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, announced that “it’s time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s films.” Guess what? Boycotting a film is not going to stop cops from overreacting. It’s such a childish knee-jerk reaction to target the person who speaks up against the corrupted powers working to “protect” us. That is always the response police give when anyone questions policing methods. Civilians don’t understand how dangerous the job is for cops. But guess what? When you start turning against us for asking questions and demanding a response, we might start believing that you did all those awful things on purpose. So you tell me: whom am I supposed to believe?