Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington said he has “the utmost respect” for cops — while taking a shot at anti-police protesters.
The 66-year-old “Malcolm X” actor said he’s had a first-hand look at the value of police work, after playing law enforcement in several roles throughout his career.
“I have the utmost respect for what they do, for what our soldiers do, (people) that sacrifice their lives. I just don’t care for people who put those kind of people down,” Washington told Yahoo! Entertainment.
“If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do.”
Washington’s new dark thriller, “The Little Things,” marks the 13th time he has played a law enforcement role.
He recalled a ride-along with police to prepare for his role as a cop who becomes a prosecutor in 1991’s “Ricochet.”
“I went out on call with a sergeant,” he told Yahoo!
“If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do,” Denzel Washington said about police. AFP/Getty Images
“We got a call of a man outside his house with a rifle that was distraught. We pulled up and did a U-turn past the house and came up short of the house. He told me to sit in the car, which I was gonna do. I wasn’t getting out,” Washington recalled.
“As he got out, another car came screaming up and two young people jumped out screaming. As it turned out, it was their grandfather.”
Washington said the policeman diffused the situation by “just remaining calm.”
“He didn’t overreact,” he said. “He could’ve pulled his gun out and shot the people that came up driving real fast. He could’ve shot the old man that was distraught and confused — I think he was suffering from dementia.”
“But in that instant it taught me, and I never forgot it, what our law enforcement people have to deal with moment to moment, second to second,” the actor said.
Washington’s comments come in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests following the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the shooting death of Breonna Taylor during a botched Louisville police raid, among others.
The incidents led to widespread calls to “defund the police.”