“You’re just mad because I filmed your boy,” said Ramsey Orta, according to The Huffington Post, as officers with the New York Police Department arrested him for allegedly owning a gun. Orta is the man behind the camera in the now-infamous video in which NYPD officers put unarmed Eric Garner in a banned chokehold that suffocated him to death on a packed New York street. When a grand jury declined yesterday to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner, protests erupted across the US, as many Americans felt that justice had not been served.
In light of the grand jury’s non-indictment of Eric Garner, Nick Wing at The Huffington Post pointed out the fact that a grand jury did indeed indict Ramsey Orta on gun charges that he claims were pinned on him by NYPD officers in an act of retaliation against him for filming the choking death. According to SILive.com, Orta, who filmed Garner’s death on July 17, was arrested on August 2 after police allegedly saw him handing a .25 caliber handgun to a friend. While firearms ownership is constitutionally protected and legal in most US jurisdictions, citizens in New York City are subject to strict gun control laws.
On August 15, a grand jury indicted Ramsey Orta, who has a prior drug conviction, on two felony charges, criminal firearm possession and third-degree criminal weapon possession, and a misdemeanor weapon possession charge. Orta plead not guilty and is fighting the charges. The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association issued a statement on Orta’s arrest with harsh words for “criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.”
Orta’s wife Chrissie Ortiz told SILive.com that the charges against him were “total b.s.” and said, “I’m just worried about my husband and getting out the truth and making sure justice is served for Eric Garner and my husband.” She claims her husband was set up by NYPD and told CBS New York, “He called me and said, ‘babe, hurry up and come over here. They’re trying to pin something on me’… The day after they declare [Eric Garner’s death] a homicide, you find someone next to [Ramsey Orta] with a gun, and you saw him pass it off? Out in public when he knows he’s in the public spotlight? It makes no sense.”
The above-embedded video coverage of Orta’s arrest, which was broadcast back in August by CBS New York, notes that Orta’s mother Emily Mercado claimed that police had been following him ever since he filmed the video of Garner’s death. She said, “They’ve been following him. They’ve been sitting in front of my house, putting their spotlights in my window.” She called his video “something that needed to be shown, you know, that people needed to see.” Going further, she said, “I’m glad that he is the one that did it.” Back in August, Mercado said that Orta was placed on suicide watch following his arrest.
Orta’s lawyer Michael Zuntag pointed out the fact that no fingerprints were found on Orta’s alleged weapon. A DNA test is being conducted on the handgun to determine whether or not any samples are a match with Orta.