The “BlacKkKlansman” filmmaker on Sunday tweeted a short video that spliced together a famous scene from his 1989 movie, “Do the Right Thing,” with cellphone footage of the police killings of Floyd and Eric Garner.
Lee titled the clip “3 Brothers,” listing Garner and Floyd alongside Radio Raheem, a fictional character portrayed by Bill Nunn in his film.
The parallels between “Do the Right Thing” and the deaths of Garner and Floyd are both clear and troubling.
Many critics consider “Do the Right Thing,” which nabbed two Academy Award nominations, to be one of Lee’s best films. The movie climaxes as Radio, a Black man, gets into a standoff with the white owner of a New York pizzeria. The character is forcibly removed from the restaurant by police officers, who proceed to put him in a chokehold and kill him.
Garner died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by former New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was fired last year. Floyd died last week after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon that aired Sunday, Lee didn’t condone the ongoing protests taking place in Minneapolis, New York and other cities, but said he understood “why people are doing what they are doing.”
“What we’re seeing today is not new,” he said. “We’ve seen this again and again and again, and people are asking the same questions: Why are people rioting? Why are people doing this? Because people are fed up and people are tired of the debasing, the killing of Black bodies. That’s what this country is built upon.”
Lee’s next film is “Da 5 Bloods,” set to be released June 12 on Netflix.