Voices of Conscience Step Up in Defense of Quentin Tarantino and Condemn the Police Union Threats and Boycott

Updated November 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



Rise Up October to Stop Police Terror, three days of beautiful and powerful resistance, involved people from many different perspectives who recognize that stopping the epidemic of police terror and murder will take struggle and protest. Families of those killed by police murder, voices of conscience, clergy, students, revolutionaries and others joined together to say Police Terror Must Stop and challenged many others: Which Side Are You On?

Quentin Tarantino and Gina Bellafonte read names of those murdered by police

October 22, 2015, Quentin Tarantino and Gina Belafonte at No More Stolen Lives: #SayTheirNames in Times Square. Patrick Lynch, head of the New York Police Brutality Association (PBA), has called for a boycott and made other threats in response to Tarantino's firm stand against police who are murderers. Photo: Special to Revolution

For his participation in this mobilization, Quentin Tarantino has come under attack. Patrick Lynch, the head of the Policeman's Brutality Association (PBA) called for a boycott of Tarantino’s films. Police unions in LA, Philadelphia, and New Jersey have joined this call. The proven-racist, ex-cop Mark Fuhrman has gone even further, calling for police to deny Tarantino permits or protection to do filming.

The following are statements responding to this attack:

Carl Dix, co-initiator of Rise Up October, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party
The police threats against Quentin Tarantino amount to a mafia-style protection racket, only the payoff being demanded is toeing a political line, not cash. "Don't dare criticize police who kill people, or we'll make it impossible for you to work in our towns." It is aimed at sending a message, not just to Tarantino, but to anyone whose voice carries great weight in society: "if you speak out, we will come after you, threaten your livelihood and attempt to scare you back into silence." They want the people who suffer the brunt of this brutality alone and ignored. This is unacceptable.

Video after video has shown unarmed Black, Latino, and Native Americans being tazed, stomped, brutalized, and shot in the back by police and almost never are the police even indicted. What kind of society allows this? What does it say when those who raise their voices against this are the ones who come under attack?

We must not allow the intimidation or silencing of those who use their influence to shine a light on the epidemic of police terror. Artists need to be able to express themselves on progressive causes without fear of retribution and attack. We will have Tarantino's back and call on others to join with us.

Cornel West, co-initiator of Rise Up October, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary
Can we keep the focus on what I, Brother Carl Dix, Brother Quentin Tarantino, Sister Eve Ensler, and THOUSANDS of others tried to do—a moral focus on the unnecessary deaths of those killed by police. Of course the killing of police is wrong but the killers do go to prison. Ought not policemen go to prison when they kill us?

Cornel West and Carl Dix on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC on Rise Up October, the attacks on Quentin Tarantino, the FBI director's claim video keeps police from doing their jobs, and the struggle to stop police terror. Listen here (first 18 minutes of the segment).

Statement by Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, in Support of Quentin Tarantino’s Condemnation of Police Killings

So far this year, police in the United States have killed 970 people. The number of people killed by police in Germany and the United Kingdom combined is two. To be sure, the U.S. population is larger than that of Germany and the U.K.—about 2.5 times larger—but not hundreds of times larger.

We are in the midst of a crisis. But it’s not just about deadly policing. It’s about deadly and biased policing. People of color make up less than 38 percent of the population but a startling two thirds of the unarmed people killed by police. This year police have shot and killed an unarmed black man every five days, according to a running tally in the Guardian newspaper. Each death shows just how painfully far our nation remains from equality and brings us back to the same crossroads.

Are we going to accept a deeply divided nation where only some can trust the police? Are we willing to accept that growing up black in this country too often means being vulnerable to the brutality of racism, even by police? The answer should be clear. We cannot remain coldly silent and ignore what is happening.

Quentin Tarantino has decided that he will not be silent or ignore what is happening. He has spoken out, as is his right, in the strongest terms against the biased policing that has led to this sickening tide of fatalities. Organizations representing police officers immediately distorted Mr. Tarantino’s comments, suggesting he was referring to all officers and calling him a “cop hater.” Police unions, as is their right, have called for a boycott of Mr. Tarantino’s films.

The ACLU of Southern California stands with Mr. Tarantino and supports his condemnation of those police officers who have killed unarmed citizens who pose no threat. He has given voice to the frustrations of millions of Americans who stand for justice, and we raise our voice with his, speaking up as we have for decades to make it very clear that we condemn not the police, but police brutality and challenge the conspiracy of silence around police abuse.

Ilan Pappé, historian and social activist
A country in which artists are not allowed freedom of expression, while the police are free to profile, discriminate and even kill innocent civilians just because of their race and color is a Guantanamo country. It is a place where millions of people are faceless and can be arrested, wounded and killed without hesitation or fear of restitution. The right of Quentin Tarantino to express himself freely in his films equals his right to protest publicly against police brutality. Denying either right or both will retain the USA in the eyes of the world as a Guantanamo state.

Ed Asner, actor
There is no freedom of speech and evidently Quentin Tarantino thought there was. He was wrong. You don’t wave that red flag in front of cops and the world of policedom, including that savant Commissioner Bratton. This has come down on Tarantino’s head. Regrettably. Enough gas has been emitted. I think the demonstrations in New York protesting the many killings demonstrate this most important factor—that the training and education of police throughout the country has to be greatly improved and intensified so that the instances of trigger happy shootings will diminish.

Viggo Mortensen, actor:
[from interview on Democracy Now] I saw both the clip of what he said on the 24th of October, and I saw him on All In last night with Chris Hayes, and I thought that Quentin Tarantino knocked it out of the park in his interview last night. He clearly saw what anybody with eyes on their head could see in certain videos. Fortunately, those certain events were videotaped, of police brutality. He was commenting, like the people, the families of those who had been slain by police officers—unarmed people, you know. In some cases, those acts have been condemned, you know, have been called murder. And in other cases, they have controversially not been—what happened on Staten Island, you know, recently, and in other places, even though they were videotaped, and all could see what was going on.

David Zeiger, filmmaker, tweeted:
Yes...it is murder. I call on my fellow documentarians to #SideWithQuentin

Gina Belafonte, Sankofa.org co-director, tweeted:
Defeat attempts at censorship and silencing. celebrities speak out and #SideWithQuentin

Simon Moya-Smith, Native American writer and activist, tweeted:
I #SideWithQuentin. #BlackLivesMatter & #NativeLivesMatter are not anti-police. We are in opposition to systemic oppression of ppl of color.

Michael Moore, filmmaker, Instagrammed:
Quentin Tarantino, a brave and good American, standing with families who've lost loved ones to police violence. Now certain police, the same ones who defend the cops who've killed unarmed innocent black citizens, are out to get Tarantino. They've called for a boycott of his movies. Really? I think just the opposite. I think millions of us not only stand with Tarantino, we're going to make sure we go see his next movie! Who's with me? Stay strong Quentin. They're just frightened and in shock that a well-known and respected white guy would dare to speak out.

Robert Meeropol, founder, Rosenberg Fund for Children
Police departments in the United States have been militarized. The police in many communities, particularly when dealing with people of color, act as an occupying army and treat residents as the enemy. The shooting and killing of unarmed people of color, terrorizing those communities, is the inevitable result. The police violence must stop, and the police in question must be brought to account. Public protest against such police violence is the right thing to do. The protesters, whether they are Hollywood personalities or the average person on the street, should be commended, not attacked, for their actions. Efforts by police fraternal organizations to intimidate them must be resisted. Police violence and intimidation are incompatible with the free, just and democratic society we aspire to.

Sudie Gordon, Founder/Gloria Norwood, Co-Founder, Support for Families and Friends of Murdered Victims (November 9, 2015)

As Founder and Co-Founder of Support for Families and Friends of Murdered Victims, located in Waukegan, IL, it is with pride and determination that we stand behind Mr. Quentin Tarantino in his bold and courageous stand against police brutality and killings.  

Through our mission, we have witnessed much of the violence by police that Mr. Tarantino is speaking about. In the Lake County area that we live in we have families that come to our support group attempting to find others who have been affected and to unite as kindred spirits who are grieving because of the loss of a loved one. We attempt to sympathize, love and share whatever resources may be helpful in giving these families strength. 

We personally feel that Mr. Tarantino is an asset to this country, both as a member of society and as a iconic movie producer.  

Thank you Mr. Tarantino...from the bottom of our hearts...

Jamie Foxx, actor
When Foxx had the stage to present an award at the Hollywood Film Awards on November 1, referring to Quentin Tarantino's words at the Rise Up October demonstration, Foxx told him to: "Keep telling the truth, keep speaking the truth and don't worry about none of the haters."

Joyce Carol Oates, author, tweeted:
It should not require unusual courage to protest police brutality as Quentin Tarantino has done but, evidently, it does.
Ironic that police defending police brutality plan to boycott violent Tarantino films.


Despite threat of police boycott of literary novels, poetry, & belles lettres we are bravely supporting Quentin Tarantino.

Tom Morello, musician, tweeted:
Proud of Quentin Tarantino 4standing w/police brutality opponents. Bullying by FOP to silence the truth is typical. Would Django apologize?!


RATM OFTEN boycotted by police 4 speaking truth. Fuck ticket sales/Oscar backlash. Tell the truth Quentin & let the chips fall where they may

Peter Biskind, cultural critic, film historian, journalist 
Good for Quentin Tarantino for joining the RiseUpOctober demo and incurring the wrath of the rabid police unions.

Roland Martin, radio host, tweeted:
Cops are upset that someone with #QuentinTarantino’s stature would stand w/those of us against police abuse. @Carl_Dix on #RolandMartinShow

Billy Corben, director of Cocaine Cowboys, tweeted:
Tarantino didn’t call all cops murderers. He said: if you murder, you’re a murderer. Regardless of your occupation.

Martin Garbus, civil rights lawyer
Quentin Tarantino is to be complimented and acknowledged for his truthful remarks at the rally [on October 24, 2015]. He accurately helped describe a terrible problem in America today. We should support him, not chastise him, for using his voice in the defense of freedom.

Charles Burnett, filmmaker
I can't say enough about Tarantino. He said what needed to be said. I hope his rage encourages all of us to speak out against genocide. When his new film opens, I will be there to show my support.

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West, and Quentin Tarantino march with families representing people murdered by police

Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Cornel West and Quentin Tarantino in march on October 24 with families of people murdered by police. Photo: Special to Revolution

Arturo O'Farrill, Grammy award winning jazz musician, Advisory Board, Rise Up October
Last time I checked this was a free nation in which an artist, or any citizen, was allowed to speak their mind without fear of retribution. Calling for the boycott of Mr. Tarantino's work is within the rights of free speech just as Quentin's statements were. Calling for obstruction to his business is probably illegal. One does not have to agree with Mr. Tarantino's terminology to see that the discharge of a weapon is serious business, and when we see the remarkable numbers of unarmed citizens fired upon by police officers, one must speak out. You don't have to agree with anything anyone says publicly but the premise of this nation is the idea that we have an inalienable right to question how we are governed. It is the foundation of the American revolution and constitution, and all of our subsequent liberties.

National Coalition Against Censorship (http://ncac.org/blog/quentin-tarantino-the-nypd-and-the-first-amendment/)
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino exercised his First Amendment rights by speaking at a New York City protest against police brutality. At the October 24 event, he denounced "police terror," and reportedly said this: "I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers."

In response, Patrick Lynch, the head of New York's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association union, called Tarantino a "cop-hater" and said that it was "time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino's films." A union affiliated with the Los Angeles Police Department has reportedly endorsed the boycott as well.

The union has as much as right to disagree with Tarantino's speech as the filmmaker has to denounce police brutality. But one would hope that police officials would take care not to ignore the constitutional rights of people with whom they disagree. Lynch's statement says that Tarantino "has no business coming to our city" to express himself. He most certainly does have such rights. That a law enforcement official would suggest otherwise sends a very disturbing message that is antithetical to basic free speech principles. Indeed, in light of the police department’s unfortunate history of violating the rights of peaceful protesters, Lynch would do well to remind officers of their obligation to respect the legal rights of even those with whom they disagree.

Peter Coyote, actor and writer
One has to wonder why the statements of a private citizen who is articulating that he has a conscience and is against killing; who speaks critically of police killings which are nearly extra-judicial—consider the shooting of a man in a wheel chair; threatening to “light-up” a woman pulled over for failing to signal, throwing an undisciplined student over backwards in her chair—or any of the hundreds of questionable murders by police now being questioned by citizens because they have cell-phones and can show the world what an undisciplined law officer can do. I don’t understand why this generates formal protests from a police union, for instance, as if the members have all voted and are in accord with seeking financial retribution against a citizen exercising his constitutional rights. Wake up people. It could be any one of us under the gun next time. Police are employees, and until their employers tell them STOP! Enough! We need to understand that that silence is actually a dog-whistle signal to a quiet constituency that is afraid to speak up about their deep fears of African-American men. What is that dog whistle signal? It’s simple. It is, “We’re not gonna let them get you.” And they prove it daily. Until their fellow officers stand up the crazies and until their employers—the mayors, boards of supervisors, governors etc. say, “STOP” it will continue. It will only be a matter of time before some people begin to fight back. That’s a bad future to look forward to. Good for Quentin Tarantino. Shame on those who do NOT speak.

Jen Marlowe, author, filmmaker, playwright 
It's absolutely unconscionable that Quentin Tarantino should face intimidation and threats for speaking out about state murder. As an artist—as a citizen—Mr. Tarantino's right to free speech and to dissent must be protected, not attacked.

Shaul Schwarz, filmmaker—Narco Cultura, Southern Rites 
Police brutality in this country is an urgent problem and the last thing that journalists, artists and filmmakers, should be, is bullied to not say what they think, this is exactly what is done now to Tarantino and I think it's a disgrace.

Bill Ayers, Movement Reimagining Change
Praise to Quentin Tarantino for adding his voice against the serial assassination of Black people by the militarized armed forces of the state. When the Top Cop in the country, FBI Director James B. Comey, gets into a blue rage and goes on a public relations rampage, claiming that the police are being sidelined by scrutiny, blaming the victims of police murder, their allies, and the activists who rally in the name of justice and humanity, it’s high time everyone—residents, citizens, artists, activists—stand and be counted.

Comey’s out front with a clear statement about a particularly perverse police perspective on public safety and the place of the cops in a free society: let the cops loose everywhere; let them do what they do without oversight or constraint or citizen/community scrutiny; don’t watch; trust us. If they would just stop watching, things would be fine.

Good for Quentin Tarantino.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen Buddhist teacher, priest, scholar, and author:
The Black Lives Matter movement and Rise Up October is a nonviolent reasonable response to the urgent need for change in the face of weekly or more incidents of murder or brutalization by police of unarmed African-Americans. This horrible pattern of police violence against African-Americans is a threat to all citizens. I deeply respect and congratulate Quentin Tarantino for his participation and support of this demonstration. He represents me and many other "white" Americans who are morally alarmed at this pattern of police violence, but could not be present ourselves at this event. At a time when our society urgently needs a respectful, unprejudiced, responsible police force to protect all citizens, regardless of race, I am further alarmed at the police officials threatening boycott and even suppression of Mr. Tarantino's creative work and livelihood. We must protect the rights of all citizens to speak our truth, and we must work together to heal the violence in our society. This attack against Quentin Tarantino only increases the problem, and reflects poorly on our police forces.

Roshi Pat O’Hara—Zen Buddhist priest and New Yorker:
I am saddened by the reactivity and ignorance of the police, who are supposed to serve as agents of our government, that is, our employees. We need more citizens like Tarantino who will have the courage to speak up against the violence and injustice routinely visited upon people of color. The police should be thanking Tarantino for his citizenship and concern!

Statements from families of victims of police murder who were some of the 100 families who were in NY for Rise Up October.

Paris Bey, cousin of Janisha Fonville, murdered by Charlotte, NC police, February 2015
Quentin Tarantino means a lot to us - at Rise Up October, he wasn't just a film director or a public face - he was a person who cares what cops are doing to us and to all the families. He's not afraid to lose endorsements and he is not scared of boycotts. He walked with us the whole time, speaking with us, hearing us. He gets big ups for that and a lot of respect. And it pushes our movement forward! Yes, the media focuses on his involvement in Rise Up October... but... WHY was he there? He was there for the victims who have lost loved ones to murder by police. We should boycott the police and promote Quentin Tarantino movies, because he cares about the community. The media can put out the positive, but they don't, it's all negativity. The police unions call for a boycott! It's all negativity. Tarantino called the murders murder and the murderers the murderers. The fact is he stood up for us. He put himself out on a limb for us. We are behind him 100%, no ifs, ands or buts. Hollywood A-listers worry about becoming D-listers and don't want to lose their livelihood or money. Hollywood: what is wrong is wrong and what is right is right. We are being shot down. Stand up for justice. The platform you have is powerful. You have the power to change everything. Which side are you on?

Marilyn Covarrubias, mother of Daniel Covarrubias, who was murdered by police in Lakewood, Washington in April 2015
It took a lot of guts, a lot of heart, for Quentin Tarantino to come out and speak [about] the killings that have been happening. And I have much love for him, because he didn't need to do that but he did it. And when his movies come out I'll come see them 5 or 6 times that night. And I'll invite everyone else I know to come see them too. Because I love that man for doing that.

L'Sana DJahspora, father of Cinque "Q" DJahspora, murdered by Jackson, Tennessee police, November 2014
Quentin Tarantino at Rise Up October—Stop Murder by Police! I am impressed that Quentin Tarantino saw our plight and struggle as meaningful enough to place himself among us and take in our experience, our pain. Celebrities often do cameo appearances for such causes, and that can be valuable, but Quentin was with us throughout most of the Rise Up October gathering of victim's families. That impressed me and the other families. We knew it was genuine and authentic. Many would not have the courage to say “murder is murder” and a “murderer” is a “murderer.” The attack on Tarantino and call to boycott his films by the NYPD, LAPD and Philadelphia police unions is pure gangsterism consistent with the ongoing terror of what amounts to a national gang, putting a hit out on him. When you're being bullied, like all of us victim's families feel, you don't disown the ones who stand up for you. No to the boycott; we should be holding Tarantino movie festivals and marathons in appreciation. He put his name, face and livelihood on the line to stand and identify with us, with justice and what is simply right. Place that up against those voices of injustice and Quentin Tarantino clearly holds the moral high ground here. His action shows courage, while police unions throw a protective circle around cowards who commit murder with the expectation of impunity. They position themselves to have NO MORAL STANDING AT ALL! First you kill our loved ones and deny us justice, you criminalize us and our families, and then you incriminate any like Tarantino who dare to stand with us and call it what it is. The police call for boycott is a throwback to the blacklist of the 50s and 60s, and dares anyone to stand on behalf of people of color. Tarantino stood with us, stood with those suffering profoundly from the terror; he connected with the families as we sought to connect with each other.  Stack up Quentin Tarantino's moral stand and authenticity against the government-sanctioned criminal terror raging across this nation, and it is clear who is on the right side of history.

Yohana Flores, daughter of 52-year-old Ernesto Flores, murdered by San Bernardino, CA Sheriffs, April 15, 2015
I appreciate Quentin Tarantino coming out to support the cause of stopping murder by police! A lot of celebrities don't, or just say something once and that's it. Quentin Tarantino took the time to walk with the families—and did so for two of the three days of Rise Up October in NYC to Stop Police Terror. The NYPD and LAPD call to boycott his movies is ridiculous. What he said is he can't support murder or murderers. If you oppose him saying that, then if the shoe fits wear it... because it shows you support murders and murderers yourselves, it shows you support the murder of innocent people by police. So, I am very thankful for Quentin Tarantino's words and his actions and for standing up. He knew he would be criticized but that didn't stop him. All the families who have lost loved ones to murder by police, here and all over the world, appreciate him!

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino, with Kimberly Griffin, holding photo of her son Kimoni Davis, murdered by Hanging Rock OH police, 6/29/15. Photo: AP

Marie Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton, killed by police in Milwaukee, April 2014
Given the very different class of people Quentin Tarantino is surrounded by, I appreciate the time he spent with me, my family, and other families who have been traumatized by police brutality. It’s a tragedy that so few other privileged people have come out, and taken the blinders off, as clearly as Quentin has.

I’m glad that he recognizes the truth. For me, meeting him was not about the limelight. It was heart-wrenching and heart-felt. I appreciate him because he took a HUMAN stand. I applaud him for coming out BOTH days. He could have come out just one day, and shown us, the moms, and the families, that he cared. He KNEW there would be backlash, and he was compelled by hearing our stories to come out the whole weekend and support us. I wish a lot more of the upper class, the 1%, would take the blinders off and open up their hearts to the solution. It's not going away, regardless of your economic status. You're NOT exempt. My family has had discussions about him since then. He could have taken all the time he wanted when he had the microphone. INSTEAD, he wanted families to speak out. THAT was compassion. We need a lot of people with money and pride to let it go, and speak out. They’re not exempt, regardless of economic status. This affects all people, police brutality is killing all people. RISE UP!

From Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward, Jr., murdered by the NYPD, September 27, 1994. He was playing with a brightly colored toy gun.
I need to give a big shout out to the brave and noble man, Mr. Quentin Tarantino who traveled to NYC to stand with the parents and families who have been fighting for justice for their murdered loved ones at the hands of police. He didn't have to make this noble stand, but unlike far too many who see this injustice going down on a nationwide level, Mr. Quentin Tarantino could no longer stand back and not say anything. So on October 24, 2015 he stood up with the families. And because he did what many are afraid to do and say, the police unions in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and others are going to boycott his movies, in a cowardly stand which is saying to all others like brother Quentin Tarantino with celebrity status that if you speak out against the injustice of this system, the system will target you to bring you down. Now I tell you brothers and sisters like all the other injustice of this system, this right here is wrong. And I am asking that everyone who believes in truth and justice to please stand up and support Mr. Quentin Tarantino for standing up and being unafraid to say: enough is enough. No more killing innocent unarmed humans nationwide and never being held accountable. We refuse to be intimidated by police and government repression or by threats of boycott on those who seen the injustice for far too long, and have risen up to support the families who suffer from this injustice system. Please stand up and support our brother, Mr. Quentin Tarantino.

Chemika Hollis, partner of Nate Wilks, killed by Oakland police August 12, 2015
Rise of October was a very powerful strong and positive reinforcement that I am thankful to say that I was able to stand in solidarity with so many different families. I am very much appreciated that this brave strong willing human being, I said human being because only a person would know that this is wrong killing our people and only a person would have feelings towards this genocide of our communities. Quentin Tarantino took stance with us. I am grateful for that, there is still lots of people who are sitting down from a computer saying stop police terror and that's it, but Quentin Tarantino put his action into place and came out and marched, spoke and held our hand the whole time as we took over New York City streets to stop police terror on our brothers and sisters. I stand with Quentin Tarantino and his actions and I support him 2,000,000,000%. How could a person want to boycott someone for speaking their rights. Everyone has a freedom of speech and he spoke what he felt, right is right and wrong is wrong. If more celebrities came out and support us then this will be impossible for them to boycott his movies because he'll have a line of celebrities and families. You have me and my family's support Quentin Tarantino!!!

Alice Howell, grandmother of 17-year-old Justus Howell murdered by Zion, IL police, April 4, 2015
Shame on you, for attacking such an individual who has a conscience and knows that these murders are wrong and calling murderers just what they are… murderers. I commend you Quentin Tarantino for standing with the families, exercising your rights as a human being and Rising Up against these murderers. We will not be silent. We stand with you Quentin!

Latoya Howell, mother of Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, IL police, April 4, 2015
I am glad that Mr. Tarantino was in NYC marching with us, the cause of this march was for those who had their lives stolen due to police injustice to come together in great numbers to show the world THIS WAR ON CIVILIANS IS UNACCEPTABLE and to show those who were afraid or just didn't care to speak of these murders by police that by standing in solidarity with others in the name of justice will be a great move to solving the problem. Quentin Tarantino is a huge icon in the public eye so his presence along with others raising awareness is a necessity for change. Police are murdering more than 3 humans a day, if we as a people don't stop this tragedy there is no hope for the future! STOP POLICE TERROR NOW!

Andrea Irwin, mother of Tony Robinson, killed Madison, WI police, March 2015
Me being the mother of a child murdered by police, I appreciate a man of stature such as Quentin Tarantino standing with us. He’s a man. His position and career have nothing to do with what we were doing on October 24th. He stood as a man standing with people who were standing up against what’s wrong. He should not be dealing with retribution. I fully support him. He’s a man above anything else. Retribution is terrible. Why is it just because he’s a movie director, and he’s well known, he has to deal with this? He’s standing up for what is right. It is unfair to attack a man in his position for his personal beliefs. His career should have no bearing on his supporting us. It is disgusting that the New York Police union is highlighting and attacking Quentin Tarantino. If you publicly attack Tarantino, you should attack every one of these mothers. He stood with us, we stand with him. You cannot attack one person out of thousands. You should not be going after his position and his career. Quentin Tarantino spoke my son’s name. He stands with me. I stand with him. The New York City police union is showing their fear. They’re taking it out on the wrong person. Because you (the New York police union) is too afraid, you’re attacking a person of stature, instead of addressing the issue and attacking the problem. You’re going to call him out? Call us all out! This is not a little march or movement any more. This is a revolution! Their fear is showing.

Cephus 'Uncle Bobby' Johnson, Uncle of 22 year old Oscar Grant, murdered by Bay Area Transit Police in Oakland, CA, January 1, 2009
Uncle Bobby, the Uncle of Oscar Grant and ‘The Love Not Blood Campaign', believe Black Lives Matter everywhere and police accountability is a human right. Our vision is a world where no one has the right to take the life of another and be protected from the consequences of doing so by a system of structural racism, obfuscation and propaganda. Quentin Tarantino and many others like himself, have a right, as we families and community do, to call a "murder a murder" and call "the murdered the murdered.” For a system, such as the police agencies, police unions, and its culture to attack someone's belief and freedom of speech, is a direct assault on ones First Amendment right. The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government. The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. Quentin Tarantino, as well as those affected by police terrorism, has this right to assemble and right of expression. For a culture such as the police union to attack an individual or group for their expression and assembly is as heinous as a state that sanctions state violence. We, families, that have suffered this harm say: hands off Quentin Tarantino. For the United States to allow such an attack, people will ask the question, “What kind of country will allow people to be attacked for their expression by police officers that have a history of murder?”

Tawanda Jones, sister of Tyrone West, murdered by Baltimore Police, July 18, 2013
I am so happy Quentin Tarantino stood with the families at Rise Up October. Words can't express how I felt and the deep gratitude I have. It touched my heart in many ways. He even gave his time up at the microphone at the national march because of his support for the families. This pain never goes away. We and he did this to save others from this pain. They want us to turn off our grief and postpone Rise Up October!? Please let me know how you postpone grief? There are too many lives stolen by law enforcement and this has to stop! Quentin Tarantino did something special and significant. Now they come with a call for a boycott!? That's an outrage. We need to boycott killer cops. The entire weekend Quentin Tarantino holds up the families, wipes away our tears, tells us he is very sorry for our loss, and walks with us. He is a humble spirit and is setting a leading example for others in Hollywood. Hollywood! Use Quentin Tarantino as a leading example and join the cause.

Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom, who was shot dead by ICE agents in his own home in front of his father, on April 27, 2015
The movie director Quentin Tarantino standing with us on the front lines - that made me feel special! The police are killing our kids! But our children are the future. Quentin Tarantino stepping out and standing with us - that's beautiful, and many more movie directors should do the same. I have not felt good since my son was shot down on April 27, 2015. Today I feel good for the first time since my son was shot down in my own home. I have Quentin Tarantino to thank for it. I will stand with anyone, Black, Brown, Red, White, Yellow or Green - to stop murder by police, just like Quentin Tarantino did. This boycott is a damn shame - the police are full of shit. Now we know, again, which side the police are on. Quentin Tarantino is standing up for something right. He is standing up for my son and so many others. Stop being scared and stand up with him. Murder by police happens every day - children getting killed by police. Quentin Tarantino is standing up for us, and I love him for it.

Alicia Kirkman, mother of 17-year-old Angelo Miller, murdered by Cleveland Police, March 23, 2007
I loved that Quentin Tarantino stood with the families! It showed he cares. Even though he is a famous person—he is on the front lines with us—saying he won't put up with murder by police either. He put himself in our shoes. He walked with us. It's not like he's too famous and can't be touched—no, he walked together with us and we feel good about it. More celebrities need to support us like he did. It's not like others who watch police murder our children on TV, but then don't come out because they are scared about their image. It's what they are trying to do to Mr. Tarantino—boycotting his movies, attacking him for doing right—that other celebrities are afraid of. Don't be afraid. Treat us like human beings like he did. That boycott call is ridiculous and I don't think it's going to work!

Freddie McGee, father of Freddie Latrice Wilson, killed by police in Chicago November 13, 2007:
Make me to understand this: Police and authorities in our system act like this is some kind of game. Killing people’s family members – and it’s OK. Our or their lives don’t really matter? What happened to our Black male police officers? Our Black women officers. Did they join the Ku Klux Klan? Against their own people? You hate your own people so much it is time to wake up. Police stop killing us or find yourself another job. Please help stop our leaders from turning over and over in their graves. Think about it before it is too late. If it’s not already. Power to the people of all races! Help stop this darkness so it can come to the light. ’Cause if it does then you can sleep better at night.

Angela Naggie, mother of O'Shaine Evans, killed by San Francisco Police, October 2014
Quentin Tarantino stepped out real good, and supported us. This touched me. He didn't have to do what he did. It shows there are people that care about us, who care about families who have children the police have killed. It is something I truly appreciate. Quentin Tarantino stood with us in solidarity. All the rest of you in Hollywood: support him, join him! C'mon all of you in the movie industry, stand by each other!

Patricia Perez, grandmother of Richard "Pedie" Perez, unarmed, murdered by Richmond CA Police, September 2014
We SUPPORT Quentin Tarantino ALL THE MORE. If there are any other high-profile people, out there…who will STAND UP, on the side of what is RIGHT…that would be very ADMIRABLE. We NEED the SUPPORT of ALL who can “put themselves in our shoes” and “FEEL” our PAIN of having a member of your own family, who is UNARMED and NOT committing any type of a CRIME whatsoever…SHOT DEAD by a Gun-Happy Cop! What is happening to our LOVED-ONES, at the hands of MURDERING COPS, is a HORRIBLE THING. Until the rest of the people are as OUTRAGED as the families of the VICTIMS, our struggle is made all the more difficult. IF it happened to one of your most Loved-Ones…you would be doing exactly what we are doing. THANK YOU Quentin Tarantino.

Edward Powell, father of 27-year-old Martice Milliner, murdered by Chicago police, July 9, 2015
I feel like Mr. Tarantino was standing by a group of many who have lost loved ones due to the excessiveness of Law Enforcement across the U.S. As someone who has lost a son to excessive force by police I felt that comfort and I felt at ease knowing Mr. Tarantino felt my pain.

I’m appalled that the Police Department of New York City would do such a thing to Mr. Tarantino because he felt the pain of many. If standing with people is that wrong to try to stop a person’s way of living we have a problem with the American Justice System.

Ishtyme Robinson, mother of Ahjah Dixon, killed in police custody in Texas, March 2010
I celebrate Quentin Tarantino's presence at Rise Up October in New York City -- all three days! It was moving for me as a mother, who has lost a daughter (in jail custody) and a son, and who up to now has received no support from the surrounding community, to now have support, including from Quentin Tarantino. This movement is helping to create a new story of resistance, of resilience, announcing to the world that our children matter. Many people who are killed by police are poor people, with no value placed on their lives by the judicial system. In most cases these are marginalized groups with no voice. If all lives mattered, we wouldn't have to say Black Lives Matter. For Quentin Tarantino to come to Rise Up October, in a most sincere way, to come and stand up with us, to challenge societies standards, made a world of difference and I say that with all my heart. Boycott Tarantino movies? This is supposed to be a democratic society. Freedom of speech is suppose to be woven into the fabric of society. Families of murdered and lost victims and Quentin Tarantino have a right to voice our opinion regarding any type of infraction, injustice or pathology and no one has the right to rob us of freedom of speech, here or anywhere else in the world.

Chris Silva, brother of David Silva, murdered by Kern Co. Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol, May 8, 2013
Quentin Tarantino showing up to Rise Up October is a great thing. Rise Up October is "trending," there's big attention and popularity, including because of Quentin Tarantino's participation (and I didn't expect it). It shows he cares. He knows he had to stand up to murder by police, and I thank him for being with us. He probably expected the "negativity" because we get it everyday, the families, and myself with David's murder over two years ago—all these internet trolls with their negative comments aimed at us... Quentin called out the NYPD and LAPD and all the cops who kill unjustly. He is not saying anything more than what these cops have done. I'm so glad he stood up, because many celebrities may wear a t-shirt but don't always show up and stand up for what they believe. This boycott call is ridiculous and it makes it sound like Tarantino means all police are killers... he didn't say that. He said there are murders and murderers, cops killing blatantly and for no reason at all. Recognize and hear the truth. I am sure many are telling him to stay quiet but Quentin Tarantino should know he has the backing from us families and many others!

Dionne Smith-Downs, mother of 16-year-old James Rivera, Jr., murdered by Stockton, CA Police, July 22, 2010
It's a good thing that Quentin Tarantino came to Rise Up October and stood with us! It's been 5 years for me, 5 years since my son was murdered. And we had the #1 call—Which Side Are You On? That's serious. That's the call. And Quentin Tarantino answered the call for change. He took that opportunity to walk with us and it was a pleasure to walk with him. He was interested to really talk to us. We support him! We'll get on TV and support him. If they want to fight fire with fire, then let's go. Whatever is needed, I am there. Rise Up October isn't just a march. There is a message. Which Side Are You On? He heard our call. We are not alone and he is not alone. This system is targeting him because he wants to be part of change. He chose to stand with the families. Carl Dix, Cornel West, they all hugged us. They heard what we said. This is bigger than me or him or any one person. Rise Up October is from the heart. There is no script. This shit has to stop. It takes us to take care of us, I am a team player, and we support Quentin.

Cadine Williams, sister of 26-year-old O'Shaine Evans, murdered by Oakland Police, October 7, 2014
Quentin Tarantino's stand at Rise Up October is great, and I mean that with all my heart. More people should be saying NO MORE to this system and its police brutality. More people like Quentin Tarantino should stand with us. And Rise Up October with Quentin Tarantino participating should wake a lot of people up! How can people just sit back and let this happen to innocent people? Quentin's stand is awesome; it means a lot to us. Boycott?! That's crazy. It shows what this country is about and what kind of system this really is. A call for boycott because someone steps out and says what he believes in? That's bull. We need Quentin Tarantino and more people like him in this world. I am willing to be on the front lines marching for him. He has our back and we have his back!

Meko Williams, mother of LaReko Williams, tasered to death by Charlotte, NC police, July 20, 2011
It was an honor to meet Quentin Tarantino at Rise Up October in New York City, to meet someone who understands what we are going through as families who have lost loved ones to murder by police. This is what Rise Up October is about, saying the truth. Quentin Tarantino said "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." That is the truth. The police unions are trying to deface our movement, because it's now national and international. They say ""it's the worst thing" - NO, it's the greatest thing. What Tarantino said is no different than Cornel West, Carl Dix or Meko Williams saying the same truth. They want to separate him, put him in a box, but his voicing of the truth is no different than others who voice the truth. Writers and movie directors express themselves through their art; they go off of what's happening in history, in society - just like Django Unchained. This is freedom of speech. And it's ignorance on behalf of the police unions. We know well what the police have done and what they do. Quentin Tarantino was by my side, he was with me, and it was an honor. This boycott is just plain ignorance, because what Rise Up October is, and Quentin's comments do, is bring light to the Stolen Lives and to mass incarceration. Let's focus on that! The use of guns, Tasers, and chokeholds to murder people, like my son. Let's focus on the truth. Tarantino's words... calling the murdered the murdered and the murderers the murders is just simple truth - it is what it is. And I feel the same way he does.

From an older Black woman who attended Rise Up October
I am totally appalled at the denouncing of Mr. Quentin Tarantino because he supported Rise Up October. Yet at the same time they entertain supporting a rich idiot as the lead position of this country. This even goes as far as to tell me again that I don't matter. How do you dare tell someone that has looked in a coffin at someone that was supposed to be on their honeymoon that it was a tragic mistake. How do you tell a mother or father that identifies their child's body that no drugs or weapons just paid protectors' bullets. How do we teach our children to trust and believe in paid protectors when paid protectors killed their mother or father sister or brother or people around them. How do you see this happening over and over and not see a change is needed. Mr. Tarantino: I have a great respect for you announcing that above any and everything else you are human and you have the ability to feel. What is pathetic is that more people of status need to rise up from fear of being ostracized for what they believe in. I will get a group on opening night of his new movie and go just to show love and support. Even more reason to Rise Up.

Send your statements in support of Quentin Tarantino and against the NYCPBA attack to Rise up October at outreach@riseupoctober.org or call 646.709.1961.



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