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Watch: Spike Lee Powerfully Mixes Footage Of NYPD Chokehold Victim With ‘Do the Right Thing’ In Video Response

Watch: Spike Lee Powerfully Mixes Footage Of NYPD Chokehold Victim With 'Do the Right Thing' In Video Response

One of the more heartbreaking and infuriating headlines of the past few days has come from New York City. Last Friday, five NYPD officers engaged with 43-year-old Eric Garner, who was stopped under suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. The situation escalated with the officers smothering and choking the 400 pound man, who is seen and heard on video caught by bystanders, stating clearly, “I can’t breathe” nine times. Garner became unconscious at the scene, and shortly went into cardiac arrest and died at Richmond University Medical Center. The incident has outraged not just citizens of New York City, but has made headlines around the world. And for Spike Lee it has struck a clearly personal chord.

The director has quietly dropped a video response on his YouTube, and it’s powerful stuff. Lee mixes in footage of Radio Raheem’s eeriely similar death from “Do The Right Thing” with the actual footage from the incident involving Garner. The scene in Lee’s film is based on the real life case of Michael Stewart in 1983, adding another haunting note to this tragic story. Watch Lee’s video below along with the Garner footage. Warning: it’s tough stuff to view. [Slate]

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Eric is guilty of a petty offense, however, the NYPD is guilty of a criminal one. Putting my paralegal hat on, there are 4 elements of a crime: harm, actus reus(criminal act committed), mens rea(mind of the perpetrator(s) when act was committed), and causation, (though harm and concurrence are interchangeable) Anyway, hm…well, I really don't wanna bore anyone because this is just a simple comment, not a criminal law assignment, but based on those 4 elements, criminal *harm* was caused by the NYPD, not by Mr. Garner, a criminal act was committed by the police (the unnecessary death of Eric Garner), the mind of the perpetrators (this is the tricky part because it always indicates the type of murder committed, but I would say they clearly possessed a depraved indifference, or depraved heart), and causation (the death of Mr. Garner is a direct result of the police officer's conduct). So, I'd definitely say that the police officers are guilty of second degree murder. (Disclaimer: I am not a paralegal working under an attorney, or any legal authority directly related to this case, so I am entitled to discuss the varying legal conditions that may arise due to the conduct of both parties involved in the incident.)

zach braff

nice work, nypd

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