Behind the Threats on Quentin Tarantino by Police Brutality Associations

November 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


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

On October 24, film director Quentin Tarantino participated in a rally and march through the streets of New York City—the national Rise Up October demonstration against police terror. He marched with 100 family members and loved ones of victims of police murder, and with thousands of people from all walks of life. Speaking before the march, he said words that went viral:

What am I doing here? I’m doing here because 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 I have to call the murderers the murderers. Now I’m going to give my time to the families.

The system lashed back. The media—especially the fascists at Fox News—went ballistic. Politicians lashed out, and not just Republicans. New York City’s Mayor de Blasio complained bitterly that calling a murderer a murderer was “very insensitive.”

And the powers that be lashed back through threats from so-called Patrolmen’s Benevolent Associations (PBAs)—better known as Police Brutality Associations—across the country. Patrick Lynch, the head of NYC’s PBA, called for a boycott of Tarantino’s films. Other police “unions” piled on, including those in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Baltimore, San Jose, and Orange County, California; the National Border Patrol Council; and the National Association of Police Organizations (representing over 241,000 cops of various kinds).

Attack Dogs

No incident of police brutality is too racist that a PBA won’t back it up. After former professional tennis player James Blake was assaulted and arrested in September of this year by a NYPD cop for being a nicely dressed Black man standing on the sidewalk outside a Manhattan hotel, Patrick Lynch called criticism of the cop “irresponsible, unjust and un-American.” And no police murder is too overt, obvious, or egregious that PBAs don’t rush to defend it and insult and blame the victim. When Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD cops in July 2014 and the whole world could see exactly what happened, Lynch had the obscene disrespect to blame Garner for his own death, saying he “died from a number of bad life choices.”

PBAs attack and threaten artists, activists, and people of conscience at the bidding of—but supposedly not formally representing—government authorities. Lynch, for example, attacked Bruce Springsteen for his song “American Skin (41 Shots)” about the NYPD cops’ killing in 1999 of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, West Africa. Police fired 41 shots at Amadou. And in 2008, Lynch attacked artist Dread Scott for his NYC museum exhibit The Blue Wall of Violence, about police brutality, saying it “promotes hate.”

Now representatives of Police Brutality Associations are threatening to shut down Quentin Tarantino’s ability to make films through the protection rackets they run whereby off-duty pigs have to be hired to provide “security” for filmmakers to film on location in different cities. And they are making overtly mob-style threats that they will hit Tarantino with a “surprise.” As Annie Day notes in the article “‘If you want others to be strong, you must be strong yourself...’: Lessons and Challenges in the Fight Against Police Murder and in Defense of Quentin Tarantino,” coming from any other entity this would be immediately deemed a terrorist threat.

Demanding Respect for Thuggery as “Legitimate Actions”

LAPD Police Protective League president Craig Lally raged that Tarantino’s statement at Rise Up October “threatens public safety by discouraging officers from putting themselves in positions where their legitimate actions could be falsely portrayed as thuggery.” In other words, if everyone could see what police are really doing, they would see vicious thugs. His comments basically channel FBI Director James Comey’s recent complaints that police are “under siege” and afraid to get out of their squad cars because they are “taunted” by youth with cell phones—and because of that, they can’t do their jobs.

All of which poses the question: What does this society consider “legitimate actions” of the police?

Today, the powers that be see the millions of Black and Latino people in the inner cities and Native Americans on the reservations as people for whom they have no use, who they cannot profitably exploit, and whose anger—particularly if it connects with a conscious revolutionary force—poses a potentially grave threat to their whole setup. In short: a genocidal agenda is in effect, and police are the violent “front line” of that agenda.

All of which makes it all the more essential that the system, and its rabid enforcers, are not allowed to silence exposure, protest, and opposition to police terror!

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.
—Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:24



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