Eric Garner and Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’

By Jamilah King Jul 24, 2014

What’s become clear in the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death is that NYPD chokeholds, though officially banned, happen all too often. There have been more than 1,000 complaints of officers using the tactic in recent years. But its influence in our cultural memory is strong, as Spike Lee demonstrated when he edited footage of Garner’s death with the pivotal scene in his 1989 film "Do the Right Thing" when cops kill Radio Raheem.

Over at Shadow and Act, Tambay A. Obenson wrote that the video is "essentially holding up a mirror to reality, emphasizing how much his art seemingly imitates (or maybe I should say, reflects) real life – still, some 25 years later, since that film’s release."