Quick Takes: Police Censorship

In the aftermath of a protest against police brutality in which film director Quentin Tarantino vocally participated, the LAPD AND NYPD responded with a boycott on his films.

Police Must Take Responsibility For the Public’s Dissatisfaction

When, according to a Gallup poll, almost half of the U.S. population mistrusts the police’s ability to enforce laws appropriately, one director voicing his negative opinions at a rally is irrelevant. This recent boycott by the NYPD and LAPD of their negative portrayal in the media is just a pathetic attempt to salvage their pride and does nothing to take actual responsibility for their public reputation.

The L.A. Police Protective League president’s remark to Entertainment Weekly magazine about how Quentin Tarantino “took irresponsibility to a new and completely unacceptable level” is laughably ironic when so little is being done to fix police methods of law enforcement. Instead of addressing the public’s concerns about racial profiling and increased militarism, the police resort to dismissing these perceptions.

With new videos being posted on social media every week showing overwhelming police brutality against people of color, local and federal institutions need to start facing the facts. The UK Guardian conducted a study showing that black Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed when unarmed than white Americans. In contrast, the Huffington Post reported that the instances of deadly violence against police are at an almost record low this year, despite the rise in “anti-cop rhetoric.”

The victims in this issue aren’t the police but the unarmed people being killed by them. Instead of crying over the tiny scratch on their image from Quentin Tarantino’s opinions, the police need to tend to the gaping wounds caused by institutional racism, sexism and classism.

—  SOPHIE OSBORN Contributing Writer

Media Boycott Promotes Culture of Silence Instead of Reform

Recently, the NYPD called for the boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s films due to comments he made at a rally against police brutality, as the UK Guardian reported. The police have no right to censor negative press regarding their policies or their actions, especially when these criticisms are firmly grounded in reality. The attempt by police departments to usher in a culture of silence won’t solve the root causes of these criticisms but will instead generate more negative press for the police. Instead of attempting to silence the community, the police should be attempting to find solutions to prevent further abuses of police power.

But who can keep the police accountable? We do, through smartphones and social media and other links that connect the police to the community. In order to improve their public image, police must be trained to reduce the number of violent encounters. A method of punishing police brutality must be established. Body cameras are another potential solution, as they provide constant footage of the officer’s interactions with the community.

Despite a myriad of solutions to attempt to solve the issues of police brutality, most won’t see the light of day. The Washington Times cited a 2013 study by the National Criminal Justice Association that “found that Justice Department grants to local police forces had dropped 43 percent since 2010” — hardly the improvement to train violent and aggressive officers to opt for more peaceful encounters. For now, the best we can do is use the pressure of media to compel police departments to prevent future instances of abuse.

—  ALEXANDER CHEN Contributing Writer

Police Are Often Frustrated with Unfair Depictions in the Media

When action-film director Quentin Tarantino criticized police brutality, some police departments responded with a media boycott. It is an undeniable fact that police brutality is a serious issue that all Americans need to face. However, the media often sensationalizes a few isolated moments of police brutality into an all-encompassing anti-police rhetoric that fails to accurately reflect the police as a whole. 

Tarantino’s claims fall in line with the anti-police brutality movement. When people rant about police brutality statistics, they are hailed for assertively protesting against the corruption in government. According to the FBI, however, in 2012 the crime rate among African-Americans is disproportionately high for its population size, representing a little over 30 percent of crime in the U.S. This dismisses the notion that it’s society or the police’s fault for marginalizing minority groups. The contradiction of decrying racial profiling while at the same time criminalizing cops is overlooked if not scorned. Too often people forget that cops aren’t mindless drones or machines of violence. Most aren’t murderers. Cops have emotions and make mistakes because in the end they are normal people.

But we don’t see cops doing their jobs. We don’t hear about cops saving two lives in one day like Nathan Ernst did. Those stories don’t make national headlines, and they certainly don’t impassion thousand-person marches brimming with righteous fury. Unfortunately, cops are often viewed as faceless authority figures to be railed against, ignoring the fact that most of them are simply doing their best with a difficult job.

—  AHMAD ALIJAWAD Contributing Writer

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