Now Reading
NYPD Chokehold Victim Eric Garner’s Death Ruled A Homicide!

NYPD Chokehold Victim Eric Garner’s Death Ruled A Homicide!

Pass The Popcorn: Spike Lee Links NYPD Chokehold Victim & “Do The Right Thing”

Pass The Popcorn: Spike Lee Links NYPD Chokehold Victim & “Do The Right Thing”

UPDATE: In a breaking development Eric Garner‘s death was ruled a homicide by the city medical examiner as reported by NBC New York:

The medical examiner said compression of the neck and chest, along with Garner’s positioning on the ground while being restrained by police during the July 17 stop on Staten Island, caused his death.”

>>>Read more here (via NBC New York)

Not surprisingly, there was no official statement forthcoming from the NYPD, but the ruling certainly defies the most cynical expectations of how police brutality cases are handled in NYC–and at least holds out the hope that times truly have changed since Spike Lee depicted an eerily similar act of police violence back in 1989. One thing is certain: the eyes of the nation and the world will be watching the development of this case to see how the city responds to this tragedy. To the officials who must weigh in on such matters, all we can say is: Do the right thing. – ed.


Last week Thursday, 43-year-old father of six named Eric Garner died at the hands of four NYPD officers in Staten Island. Eric was said to have broken up a fight which attracted the policemen to the scene, but it is unclear as to why he became a target himself. Witnesses of the episode filmed the incident, showing that the man was unarmed and in no way physically provoked the police force. However, after a few pleas from the man telling the police not to touch him and to leave him alone, at least four officers visible in the video piled on top of the man while one held him in a tight chokehold.

See Also
Da 5 Bloods Spike Lee Netflix Movie

Eric told the police officers nine times that he could not breathe, but he was kept on the ground in a chokehold anyway. In a matter of moments, Eric was still and police were ordering bystanders to back away from the scene.

Rightfully, Eric Garner’s death has brought to the surface a lot of tension between the general public and a clearly overzealous police force. For many outraged individuals, this was just the fuel they needed to vocalize their disdain with the police force on a national level. Amongst many of those outraged respondents is American film director, producer, writer, and actor, Spike Lee, who intercut footage from the incident with a scene from his movie Do the Right Thing. The film is over 25 years old, yet it is strikingly similar to the tragic incident that lead to Eric Garner’s death.

As Spike Lee so eloquently illustrated in his video fusion, Eric Garner is not the first, second, or thirtieth person to be killed by the carelessness of our police force. From New York City to Los Angeles, it seems that police are the very force we need protection from. It’s clear that something needs to be done about the widespread abuse of power by police. We here at Okayplayer only hope that it doesn’t take another Trayvon Martin, Michael Stewart, or Eric Garner for us to manifest that change.


Subscribe to Okayplayer and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Exclusive content not featured on the site.
  • Exclusive deals for our merch store.
  • First notice on upcoming events and online programming.