On Monday morning. the New York Police Department’s Midtown South precinct sent out a tweet showing Jack Nicholson’s character from the movie A Few Good Men giving a speech justifying an order he gave to give a Marine a ‘Code Red’ that ended up killing him. The tweet seems especially distasteful in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury decision surrounding Eric Garner’s death. NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted in the death of Garner despite video showing him using an illegal chokehold and a medical examiner ruling the death a homicide.
Below is an image of the tweet from NYPD Midtown South, courtesy of Slate. The department deleted the tweet early Monday afternoon.
In the movie, Nicholson’s character is a Marine colonel in charge of a base at Guantanamo Bay. Two enlisted men are charged with murdering another soldier. The two men insist the murder was an accident as the result of a ‘Code Red,’ a disciplinary tactic used by Marines but deemed illegal by the Armed Forces. In the end, Nicholson’s character admits to giving the ‘Code Red’ order as he was doing what was necessary for his men. In other words, Nicholson gave the order for his soldiers to gang up on and kill another man.
Now, perhaps the precinct commander, or whoever sent the tweet out, didn’t think of that angle of the speech when it was sent out. Maybe whoever sent it just wanted to utilize the famous “You can’t handle the truth!” line. Maybe it was all just a misunderstanding. However, immediately after the tweet began making the rounds, a lot of people pointed out that it appeared that the NYPD was bragging about beating a man to death and justifying it.
NYPD account tweets speech in “A Few Good Men” where Jack Nicholson defends beating up a guy until he died. https://t.co/Jf5m9ClayS
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) December 15, 2014
The NYPD and I took very different things away from “A Few Good Men” https://t.co/jD6dhDECTz
— Dylan Scott (@dylanlscott) December 15, 2014
It’s strongly possible the NYPD either don’t know the plot of “A Few Good Men” or are admitting to being criminals. https://t.co/zn10se3dIV
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) December 15, 2014
— Harry Siegel (@harrysiegel) December 15, 2014
The NYPD quoted the part of a Few Good Men that led to Nicholson’s character being arrested; which to them is as fictional as it gets.
— Jimmy LeChase (@LeChased) December 15, 2014
While the NYPD deleted the tweet after getting raked over the coals, it remains to be seen if they will actually address it or just pretend that it never happened and it was all just a little mistake. At best, it represented amazing tone-deafness. At worst, it was a police department telling people that they have no problem beating people to death in the name of doing one’s job.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).