NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of a rally against police brutality spoke up Thursday in support of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who has been condemned by the New York Police Department's commissioner and police associations over his remarks at the weekend event.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind "Pulp Fiction" and "Django Unchained" had joined demonstrators in the city speaking out on Saturday against the deaths of people at the hands of police.
"I'm a human being with a conscience," Tarantino said at the rally. "And if you believe there's murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I'm here to say I'm on the side of the murdered."
Those words have brought out the ire of police associations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New Jersey, which have urged boycotts of his movies. He also got a scathing response from NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. Speaking on a radio show on Monday, Bratton said, "Shame on him. Shame on him particularly at this time where we're grieving the murder of a New York City police officer. There are no words to describe the contempt I have for him and his comments at this particular time."
Bratton was referring to the fatal shooting of Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed Oct. 20 while responding to a report of shots fired and a bicycle stolen at gunpoint. Authorities have charged the man accused of stealing the bicycle with shooting Holder, whose funeral was on Wednesday.
The police associations slammed Tarantino as being "a cop-hater" and "anti-police."
"It's no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too," said Pat Lynch, president of New York's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "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.' It's time for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino's films."
The Los Angeles Police Protective League voted to support a boycott, as did the union representing police officers in Philadelphia and the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association.
Carl Dix, a co-organizer of the RiseUpOctober rally at which Tarantino spoke, said the criticism was "outrageous."
"It really is an attempt to squelch any discussion by people in the arts or prominent people in other fields of taking up and discussing controversial social issues," he said.
RiseUpOctober posted a series of statements on its website supporting Tarantino, from other organizers as well as relatives of those killed by police.
Messages left for the filmmaker's representatives haven't been returned.
Tarantino also is the director of movies including "Kill Bill" and "Reservoir Dogs." His next film, "The Hateful Eight," is scheduled for release in late December.