Director Spike Lee has published a video that mixes the death of a New York man who died after been put in a chokehold by police with that of a character from his early film Do the Right Thing.

Eric Garner, 43, died after been forcibly restrained by New York Police Department officers. The video of the incident, in which the father-of-six could be heard telling officers: "I can't breathe", was first obtained by the New York Daily News and soon went viral.

A cause of death for Garner, who was accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes by police, has yet to be determined. Two NYPD officers and four emergency responders have been placed on modified duty pending further investigations.

In response to Garner's death, which has also sparked rallies in New York, Lee has edited together of the video involving Garner and the NYPD with that of the scene involving the death of the fictional character Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) in his 1989 film.

In the film, Raheem dies after being restrained in a chokehold by a NYPD officer. The character's death itself was inspired on the 1983 real-life death of Michael Stewart, a 25-year-old black male who died 13 days after being choked by an officer in a similar style to Raheem. During the film's scene, a voice from the crowd can be heard saying: "They did it again, just like Michael Stewart."

As well as posting the one-minute video, Lee also uploaded a photo to his Instagram page of Garner with the caption: "Brother Eric Garner No Longer Breathes Courtesy Of Banned NYPD Chokehold. Rest In Power."

Daniel Pantaleo, the officer seen holding Garner in the chokehold, was stripped of his badge and gun pending the results of the investigations.

Another unidentified police officer, believed to be Pantaleo's partner, was also placed on desk duty pending further inquiries.

Two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians who were at the scene will not be permitted to respond to 911 calls while Garner's death is investigated.