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Denzel Washington defends cops and troops: ‘We wouldn’t have freedom’ without them

Denzel Washington at the press conference of The Equalizer, 2014 Toronto Film Festival. (GabboT/Flickr)
February 03, 2021

Actor Denzel Washington defended law enforcement and military service members in an interview this week, during which he said he has “the utmost respect” for America’s police and troops who ensure America’s freedoms.

“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. If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do,” Denzel Washington told Yahoo Entertainment.

Washington was promoting his most recent movie “The Little Things,” in which he plays a Los Angeles County Sheriff.

Washington, who has taken on law enforcement roles in 13 films, said his respect for police was influenced by his witnessing an incident between an officer and civilian during a ride-along while researching for a role in 1991.

“I went out on a call with a sergeant. We got a call of a man outside his house with a rifle that was distraught,” Washington told Yahoo Entertainment. “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. He got out. As he got out, another car came screaming up, and two young people jumped out screaming. As it turned out, it was their grandfather. This policeman defused the entire situation by just remaining calm.”

Washington said the law enforcement officer deescalated the situation without using any violence.

“But it showed me in an instant how they can lose their life,” Washington said. “He didn’t overreact. 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 a bit confused; I think he was suffering a little bit from dementia. But in an instant, it taught me, and I never forgot it, what our law enforcement people have to deal with moment to moment, second to second.”

Washington recently garnered praise after TMZ posted a video showing Washington helping a homeless man with police in Los Angeles, a move that one L.A. police officer said he was thankful for.

“So Denzel helped us today,” the officer said, calling Washington a good samaritan.

Washington said he plans to direct his next movie about a soldier who “makes the ultimate sacrifice.”