In a new video, Spike Lee expressed his opinion about a recent incident in which an NYPD officer used an illegal chokehold to restrain a man.
Eric Garner, 43, a father of six and grandfather of two, died last week after police officers in Staten Island attempted to arrest him. One of the officers, eight-year NYPD veteran Daniel Pantaleo, used an illegal chokehold to bring him down to the ground.
In a now-viral video of the incident, Garner can be heard telling the police multiple times that he could not breathe while five officers surrounded him on the ground. Garner was allegedly selling bootleg cigarettes.
According to Newsone, Lee took the video of the incident with Garner and intercut scenes of Radio Raheem’s death sequence in his seminal 1989 film, “Do The Right Thing.” The video is apparently intended to hold a mirror to reality, emphasizing how much his art seemingly imitates real life 25 years after that film’s release.
Lee also took to Twitter, writing “Brother Eric Garner No Longer Breathes Courtesy of Banned NYPD Chokehold. Rest In Power.”
Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge.
Garner was laid to rest July 24 in Brooklyn, with Rev. Al Sharpton featured as one of the speakers in a service which included family, friends and people from the community.
According to the New York Daily News, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has ordered that the department’s 35,000 officers be re-trained in the use of force.