Spike Lee has made his own powerful statement about the death of George Floyd at the hands of police by releasing a short film comparing his treatment to a scene from his film Do The Right Thing.
Floyd passed away last Monday (May 25, 2020) after being apprehended by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Derek Chauvin, an officer who was filmed kneeling on his neck facing a third-degree murder charge and three other officers dismissed over the incident.
His death and U.S. authorities’ subsequent response has prompted protests and unrest across America, with Lee adding his own voice on Sunday (May 31) by debuting a short film, 3 Brothers, on a CNN special news report, hosted by Don Lemon.
The short opens with the words “Will History Stop Repeating Itself”, before cutting together footage of the arrests of Floyd and Eric Garner, whose death after being placed in a chokehold by a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer in 2014 also sparked protests. It also includes scenes from Spike’s 1989 movie Do the Right Thing, in which Radio Raheem, the character played by Bill Nunn, dies during a brawl after being choked by police officers.
Speaking to Don, the BlacKkKlansman director, who was wearing a T-shirt carrying the date 1619, generally thought to be the year the first indentured laborers arrived in the state of Virginia, said the U.S. was founded on the deaths of black people – and protesters, even those who have turned to rioting, are merely demanding justice.
“How can people not understand why people are acting the way they are?,” he warned. “This is not new, we saw with the riots in the 60s, the assassination of Dr (Martin Luther) King, every time something jumps off and we don’t get our justice, people are reacting they way they do to be heard … We are seeing this again and again and again…This is the thing: the killing of black bodies, that is what this country is built upon.”
Spike has also posted the short film on Twitter.