When we see cops in the news, it’s usually in the context of something bad. The shooting of an unarmed witness. Alleged corruption. Even an attack on cops themselves. But there’s another, less reported side to our boys in blue. Plenty of cops are living their lives like 1980s action heroes.
We don’t just mean these guys are heroic. They are. What we mean is they are so heroic you can picture them being played by Bruce Willis, when Bruce Willis still had hair. Fed up with news stories portraying cops as bad guys? Check out the tales of these real-life action heroes.
10. David Muniz Talks Down a Guy Who Shot Him in the Chest
Plenty of cops risk taking a bullet in their line of work. It takes a special kind of cop to take that bullet, then carry right on policing as if nothing had happened. Meet that cop: David Muniz was responding to a domestic violence call in 2015 when he encountered a very drunk, very angry guy wielding a pistol. The guy politely listened to Muniz’s call to lower his weapon, then raised that weapon and shot Muniz right in the chest.
At this point, most similar stories would take on a somber air as we told you about Muniz’s tragic sacrifice. This isn’t most stories. Instead of dropping down dead or going into shock, the wounded Muniz calmly tried to talk the guy who’d just shot him into surrendering his weapon.
It’s the sort of scenario you’d dismiss in a Hollywood movie as ‘too unrealistic’. In considerable pain, Muniz gently tried to talk his would-be murderer into putting his gun down, even saying at one point “we don’t want to kill you.” Like all movie villains, the guy didn’t listen. He went for his gun again. Muniz got there first and blew him away.
9. Mario Gutierrez’s Fistfight on a Flaming Forecourt
In 2013, would-be mass killer Dominique Jean went crazy and set fire to a gas station forecourt in Florida. His intention was to blow the whole thing up and take a whole load of people with him. Officer Mario Gutierrez just happened to be passing and in the mood to hand out an ass-kicking. He took one look at this madman walking through a sea of fire toward the highly explosive underground tanks and jumped right on in.
What followed was like the climax to a Lethal Weapon flick. Surrounded by fire, Gutierrez charged headlong into Jean, knocking him to the ground. Unfortunately for the officer, his enemy was armed to the teeth. Jean repeatedly stabbed Gutierrez with a gigantic knife, causing him devastating injuries. Yet Gutierrez kept right on fighting. Every time Jean tried to leave his bloodied corpse and make a bee-line for the gas tanks, Gutierrez got right back to his feet and tackled him down again. Eventually, surrounded by an inferno, the officer finally managed to deliver a knockout punch. The score that day: Gutierrez 1, Forces of Darkness 0.
8. Donald Thompson Jumps Into a Burning Car
When most of us see a car explode into flames, our first instinct is to get as far away from it as humanly possible. Not Officer Donald Thompson. Thompson was out on patrol in LA one day when he saw a car career out of control and smash into a wall. It then reacted like a car in Grand Theft Auto, bursting into flames, its driver trapped inside. Thompson calmly approached the crumpled vehicle, wrenched open the door and climbed into the boiling inferno.
It was the sort of fire not even an action hero could escape from unscathed, and Thompson suffered horrifying first and second degree burns. Yet he kept right on with his single-minded rescue mission, cutting the driver from their seat and hauling them to safety. He did it just in time, too. No sooner was Thompson clear than the flames engulfed the entire car, turning it into a burning death-cage from which no one could ever have escaped. Like the total boss he was, Thompson shrugged off his death-defying insanity as all in a day’s work.
7. James Beaton Goes Man on Fire on a Kidnapper
Inspector James Beaton is a British police officer with an impressive claim to fame. In the 1970s, he managed to single-handedly stop a crazed kidnapper from abducting a member of the Royal Family. Beaton was on bodyguard duty when Princess Anne’s car bumped into another vehicle. They pulled over and the driver of the other vehicle got out. Thinking he was just an irate motorist, Beaton stepped out to calm him down. The driver pulled a gun and shot him in the shoulder.
The driver was Ian Ball, an unemployed lone gunman with a history of mental problems. For all Beaton knew, though, this was an IRA kidnap attempt and he was about to wind up very dead. Judging by his following actions, it was a sacrifice he was willing to make.
Beaton’s own gun had jammed. When Ball went for the Princess, Beaton dived in front of her. Good thing he did, as Ball fired again, shattering Beaton’s hand with the bullet. Ball then fired again, this time hitting Beaton square in the chest. The Princess’s bodyguard collapsed to the ground. Ball had won.
Or not. Beaton’s heroic actions had bought just enough time for another policeman to arrive on the scene, along with a former boxer who just happened to be passing by. Although Ball gunned down the other policeman, he couldn’t stop the boxer’s fist. Ball went down like a sack of potatoes. Like all invincible action heroes, Beaton completely recovered from his injuries.
6. Don Hull Hulks Out
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh exploded a gigantic fertilizer bomb underneath the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 19 of whom were children. That grim body count could have been even higher were it not for Don Hull.
A former DEA agent turned officer, Hull just happened to be a few blocks away when the gigantic explosion levelled the building. While most of us would probably have responded by screaming and running for cover, most of us aren’t Don Hull. Faced with the screams of children buried beneath the rubble, Hull’s latent hero genes kicked in, transforming him into the Incredible Hull-k.
Armed with nothing more than his bare hands, Hull raced to the ruined building and started digging through the rubble. He single-handedly shifted a whole foot of the stuff in seconds, pulling a badly-wounded baby from the wreckage. He then ran like a speed demon to the nearest emergency responders. His actions saved the young boy’s life. Fast forward to 2016, and little Joseph Webber (the little boy in his arms in the photo above) is now a fully grown college student and artist who owes everything to Don Hull, supercop.
5. Liang Xiao’s Suicidal Suicide-Stopping Dive
Chinese cops are just like their counterparts everywhere else. They get little thanks, low pay, and have to deal with all sorts of difficult situations. Oh, and they also have a tendency towards crazy levels of heroism, as Liang Xiao’s encounter with a suicidal man shows.
Xiao and his partner had been called out to deal with a suicidal man in Nankang Town, Beihai City. The man was standing on the fourth floor of an unfinished building and threatening to end it all. Pretty much the moment Xiao got there, he jumped. Xiao’s borderline-insane instinctive response? He leaped into the guy’s path, using his own body as a freakin’ human cushion.
In most worlds, this story would end with the phrase “and both were tragically killed.” Since this is a story of amazing hero cops, though, you can probably guess what happened next. The guy somehow survived his suicidal fall. Not only that, but Xiao survived, too. Although the guy crashed down on Xiao’s head, somehow the impact was softened enough to save both their lives. The guy escaped with minor bruises. Xiao’s only injuries came from his testicles immediately swelling up to a gargantuan size befitting such a total badass.
4. Marian Godina is a One Man Anti-Corruption Unit
In Romania, cops and corruption sadly go together like Kardashians and trashy headlines, or July 4th and drunkenness. Even when the ordinary guys on the beat are honest, the system is so endemically corrupt that their superiors will let well-connected criminals get away with anything. Except, these days, for traffic crimes. The reason? An on-the-beat traffic cop named Marian Godina has single-handedly given corruption a public kicking.
Godina is just an ordinary cop, with one difference. He hates corruption. Like, hates it. If corruption were an evil Empire laying waste to Romania, then Godina would be the Rebel Alliance – repeatedly shooting torpedoes down its exhaust vent. After his superiors let one too many bad guys go, Godina came up with a plan. He took to Facebook and began publically naming and shaming all of those involved. In Romania, such honesty should have got him fired from his job. Instead, it made him a national hero.
Godina’s crusade became so popular that when his superiors tried to take his page down, ordinary Romanians took to the streets and threatened to riot. Faced with a popular revolt, the establishment backed off, leaving Godina to mercilessly crack down on corruption in his department like a non-violent, Romanian Batman. At time of writing, he’s even inspired imitators in other departments. If that’s not an inspiring Lifetime movie in the making, we don’t know what is.
3. Colonel Hugo Martinez is the Colombian Elliot Ness
Elliot Ness is lauded in the USA for taking on crime kingpin Al Capone. If Ness had seen half the stuff Colonel Hugo Martinez did, he’d have probably chucked in the towel. Martinez is the guy the Colombian government charged with taking down Pablo Escobar.
It was 1990, and Escobar was probably the richest, baddest guy on Earth. His Medellin Cartel was pumping so much cocaine into the USA that Escobar needed a vast complex of warehouses just to store all his paper dollars. His cronies were setting off bombs in Bogota, had brought down an entire airliner – killing 110 people – just to assassinate one man, and spread so much corruption through Colombia that the country was on the verge of becoming a failed state. Any police officers who stood up to Escobar were usually killed and their entire families murdered. Colonel Martinez in the special operations branch knew all this. And still he decided to take on Escobar.
What followed would make The Untouchables look like Sesame Street. Martinez’s family apartment was bombed. His own cadets were bribed to assassinate him. His food was poisoned. Escobar personally threatened to kill his whole family, then dig up the graves of his ancestors and shoot their bodies before reburying them. Yet Martinez would finally get the last laugh. It was he who led the team that shot Escobar dead on a Medellin rooftop on Dec 2, 1993. Against all the odds, Martinez had gone toe to toe with incomprehensible evil and survived.
2. Kevin Philippy Knows With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
When hard-left French rioters surrounded the cop car, set fire to it and readied their weapons, they probably assumed the officers inside would die. They’d even prepared a sign offering ‘roast chicken’ (‘chicken’ being French slang for cops). They hadn’t counted on Kevin Philippy. Known to his colleagues as the ‘Kung Fu Cop’ (which sounds like a great, or terrible, movie), Philippy calmly stepped out his flaming car and proceeded to show those demonstrators how a real man rolls.
One of the activists grabbed an iron bar and came running at Philippy, swinging for his head. Using his ninja-level jujitsu, Philippy dodged the blows without breaking a sweat. With unhurried movements, he stepped around or deflected each blow, leaving his attacker wheezing for air and looking like the biggest dumbass in town.
At this point, you’re probably expecting to hear that Philippy then unloaded on those morons. While it would serve them right, the real story is way classier. Philippy turned to the other demonstrators and casually unhooked his gun. A moment of extreme tension followed. Then Philippy slowly smiled, gestured his partner and sauntered off, leaving the rioters confused and looking stupid. The message was clear: you idiots aren’t worth my time. For his absolute dedication to laconic badassery, Philippy became a French hero.
1. Wasil Ahmad Becomes a Badass Cop (Aged 10)
Although he was only 10 at the time, Wasil Ahmad had more cojones than many cops twice or three times his age. Conscripted in his remote Afghan town of Uruzgan when the country started sliding to hell, Ahmad did something so brave we can’t believe we’re even writing about it. Wasil Ahmad was the 10-year old cop who took on the Taliban.
The context was a terrifying 43-day siege. The Taliban had surrounded one of the last government buildings left in the province, trapping many people inside. Ahmad was among them. But rather than doing what most 10-year olds would do, he decided to take the fight to the extremists. Tooling up with heavy weaponry, Ahmad proceeded to fight alongside his police colleagues, using mortars, machine guns and grenades to wreak vengeance on the scumbags who’d ruined his country.
Incredibly, it worked. Thanks to the efforts of Ahmad and his Afghan police buddies, the Taliban were driven out of their province. Almost. Unfortunately, this story has a tragic end. In early 2016, two Taliban stooges ambushed Ahmad while he was walking to school. Like the evil monsters they are, the gunmen shot the 10-year old dead. Sometimes, sadly, in a place as brutal as Afghanistan, even the biggest heroes don’t get a Hollywood ending.