by Joe Callen
Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington made his support for America’s police and soldiers clear in a recent interview in which he called out people who “put down” America’s law enforcement and military, men and women for whom Washington said he has “the utmost respect.”
“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, who has portrayed law enforcement in 13 movies, was promoting his latest film, The Little Things in which he stars as a Los Angeles County Sheriff with a checkered past who sets out to nab a serial killer (Jared Leto).
The Glory star went on to explain that his respect for law enforcement was also shaped from first-hand knowledge after an incident he witnessed during a ride-along in 1991, while researching a role for the film Ricochet.
“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 the news outlet. “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.”
The officer was able to defuse the situation without resorting to any violence, Washington said.
“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.”
The veteran Hollywood star recently earned praise in his private life after being captured on video in what appeared to be an effort to help a homeless man during an encounter with police in Los Angeles.
TMZ posted a video last May showing Washington appearing to mediate a tense situation between the homeless man, who is black, and two police officers. The video shows Washington placing himself between the man and the police in front of what looks to be Barton G, a restaurant in the West Hollywood area.
One of the L.A. police officers publicly thanked Washington, calling him a good Samaritan, and even gave the homeless man a mask for protection. “So Denzel helped us today,” the officer said.
Washington, who has also portrayed a U.S. soldier several times during his stellar career, will next direct a film about a soldier who “makes the ultimate sacrifice.”