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Two-time Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington praised police and dismissed Black Lives Matter protesters, denouncing the anti-police and military sentiments and suggesting that it was hypocritical for demonstrating against the people that provide them the freedom to do it.

“I have the utmost respect for what (police) do, for what our soldiers do, (people) that sacrifice their lives,” Washington told Yahoo Entertainment. “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.”

The 66-year-old Washington, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in the 1989 Civil War drama “Glory” about one of the first Union Black infantry units and a best actor award for playing a corrupt detective in the 2001 crime thriller “Training Day,” said he traced his respect for police while researching a role for the 1991 film “Ricochet.”

Having played many roles as police officers and soldiers throughout his career, Washington recalled answering a call with a sergeant to a distraught man outside his house with rifle.

“I wasn’t getting out. He got out,” Washington said. “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.

“But it showed me in an instant how they can lose their life. … 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 gave the interview as his latest film, “The Little Things,” where he plays a law enforcement officer for the 13th time beside Rami Malek, opened Friday in theaters.

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