Film Director Under Fire For Anti-Police Violence Speech At NYC March
The families of victims of police violence who marched with director Quentin Tarantino to protest police brutality last month are defending the film director from cop bashing claims.
Tarantino appeared at the “Rise Up! Stop Police Terror” protest in New York City Oct. 22, marching with some 5,000 demonstrators and blasting police brutality.
“I am a human being with a conscience and when I see murder, I cannot stand by and I have to call the murdered, the murdered and the murderers, the murderers,” Tarantino said.
Police groups accused the director of an anti-cop agenda, and said his remarks were insensitive after NYPD Officer Randolph Holder was killed on the job days earlier. The head of the New York police union even called for a boycott of his new movie, “The Hateful Eight.”
But the relatives of people who were killed by law enforcement who participated in the march said Tarantino voiced the sentiments of many.
“I want people to know that he heard a mother’s cry,” Dionne Smith Downs, whose son, James, was killed by police five years ago in Stockton, Ca, said. “Our loved ones have been murdered and killed. A lot of these feelings, these families felt all along.”
Protestor Meko Williams, whose son, LaReko Williams was tased to death by police in Charlotte, NC, agreed.
“They’re trying to take away from the focus of the movement – stolen lives,” Howard said. “He didn’t say all officers were murderers. He was talking about individual cases that were unjustified.”
Downs feared the police backlash against Tarantino had drowned out the protest’s point.
“This is bigger than me or him or you,” she said. “It’s not about his movie. It’s about the system being corrupt.”
Protest co-organizer Carl Dix said he and Cornel West decided to hold the demonstration to help humanize the victims of police violence, not to push an anti-cop stance. He said the Tarantino backlash was an attempt to turn the attention away from systemic problems within law enforcement, while fueling a narrative that protestors are waging war on the cops.
“We wanted to challenge everybody in society,” Dix said. “You know these killings are happening. Decide are you going to be on the side who are saying this is wrong, or are you on the side who does nothing?”
Nicholas Heyward Sr.’s 13-year-old son Nicholas was killed by a Brooklyn housing police officer back in 1994 as he played cops and robbers in a building stairwell with an orange toy gun. He’s adamant that when Tarantino used the word “murderers,” it was the correct phrase for someone who kills another innocent, unarmed person.
“I didn’t see anything wrong or untruthful in what he said,” Heyward told BOSSIP. “They made Tarantino a target because he supported families who had loved ones who were murdered by police—including my son.”
“I didn’t know he was going to use the word ‘murder,’” Heyward added, “but that’s the word I’ve been using for 20 years.”