Denzel Washington on what playing a cop onscreen has taught him about law enforcement

Denzel Washington has played many cops onscreen over his career. Some are good, some are bad.

He once again dons the uniform for The Little Things and spoke to Yahoo Entertainment about how his past peformances has affected his perception of law enforcement, especially in light of recent protests.

He recalled a harrowing incident during a ride-along he was doing with a police officer for research on his 1991 film Ricochet. The cop was helping a confused and distraught older man when two young people jumped out of a racing car to confront him. The cop kept his cool and nobody was hurt but Washington recalls how easily it could have gone the other way.

"In an instant it taught me, and I never forgot it, what our law enforcement people have to deal with moment to moment," he said. "And I have the utmost respect for what they do."

"I just don't care for people that put those kinds of people down. If it weren't for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do," he added.