Spike Lee, the Brooklyn-raised filmmaker, has never shied away from focusing his films and work on race relations and police abuse. In his seminal film, Do The Right Thing, New York Police Department officers choke a black man to death with a baton, which sparks a riot among onlookers. In 2014, he took footage of that scene and spliced it with the video of Eric Garner dying after police put him in a chokehold in Staten Island. And during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, the director attended rallies, where he would film interactions between the protestors and the police.
All this is why NYPD first deputy commissioner Benjamin Tucker wanted to hear from Lee as the NYPD prepared an advertising campaign for its hallmark neighborhood police initiative, writes The Wall Street Journal.
“You want to reach out to folks. Not just the folks who are supporters pretty consistently but also folks who have certainly been critics in the past,” Mr. Tucker said in an interview with WSJ. “I knew Spike had the advertisement firm and as we were looking at various entities in that realm, I said let’s reach out and see if they would have an interest in adding their voice.”
Lee agreed in 2005, saying it is important to have open dialogue. His advertising firm, Spike DDB, received $219,113 in consulting fees from the New York City Police Foundation, a nonprofit that funds NYPD initiatives.
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