Man Who Shot Chokehold Video Is Arrested

Sunday, August 03, 2014

A Staten Island man studies a memorial for Eric Garner in Tompkinsville, Staten Island.

The man who recorded video of a fatal police chokehold in New York City has been arrested on gun charges, police said Sunday.

Police said 22-year-old Ramsey Orta was arrested Saturday night on Staten Island, a few blocks from where officers confronted his friend Eric Garner on July 17.

Orta, whose recording of an officer restraining Garner with a chokehold fueled outcry against the police, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Police said Orta had a previous weapon conviction that prohibited him from possessing a firearm.

He is due in court this month on robbery charges stemming from a May arrest and an assault charge from an arrest three days before Garner's death, according to court records.

Orta's latest arrest came a day after the city's medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide caused by the officer's chokehold, as well as the compression of his chest and prone positioning "during physical restraint by police."

Patrick Lynch, the president of the city's largest police union, described the encounter between Garner and police as "a tragedy" but said Orta's arrest "only underscores the dangers that brought police officers to respond to a chronic crime condition" in Staten Island's Tompkinsville community.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who called Orta to the lectern at Garner's funeral and said the city should "thank God" he was there to record video "when the police and EMS failed us," called the arrest irrelevant.

"No one is questioning the validity of the tape, and the medical examiner has validated it," Sharpton said Sunday.

Police said plainclothes officers from a Staten Island narcotics unit saw Orta stuff a silver-colored, .25-caliber handgun into a 17-year-old female companion's waistband after they emerged from a brief stop at the Hotel Richmond. Police called the location, on Central Avenue, a "known drug prone location."

The unloaded semi-automatic weapon recovered was reported stolen in Michigan in 2007, police said. Officers charged the 17-year-old with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Police said Orta was in a hospital Sunday for treatment of a medical condition. No details were available. It was not immediately clear if Orta or the 17-year-old had lawyers.

An attorney representing Orta in the robbery case did not return a telephone message.

Sharpton and Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, have called for Staten Island prosecutors to charge the officers involved in his death or turn the case over to federal authorities.

The officer who placed Garner in the chokehold was stripped of his gun and badge pending the investigation. Another officer was placed on desk duty.

Two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians were suspended without pay.

Orta echoed the call for arrest in Garner's death after hearing the medical examiner's ruling Friday.

"I knew that was the cause because I saw it," he said. "Now somebody should get charged."


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Comments [8]

dan from brooklyn

re comments by Nick_Lento

Best commentary I've read regarding this case. I agree that we absolutely have the power to change things through the vote; if ninety percent of those of voting age were registered and voted, we would have a radically different government, and more responsive elected officials. We have to find it within ourselves to reject the despair, apathy and hopelessness that this society attempts to impose on us (through the means you mentioned - voter suppression, mass incarceration, unequal application of laws). The mere fact that so many states are attempting to, and have, passed laws suppressing the vote should be proof of its potential power. We have to wake up, or else...

Aug. 04 2014 05:56 PM
hairyapple from ct

well I guess that since the guy with the camera has a record the charges against the cop should be dropped. Obviously his video can't be trusted.

Aug. 04 2014 05:51 PM

Nice police work there NYPD. We're proud of you.

Aug. 04 2014 11:54 AM

Part 1

He was likely being followed and monitored 24/7 any possible infraction would be discovered or created. This is all about trying to discredit the man who shot the video. He should have anticipated retaliatory enforcement. God help him if he winds up in the prison system.....he may wind up dead himself.

If the past is any guide, there will likely be no criminal charges filed against the officer who caused the death. If charges are filed he will likely walk. If convicted it will be to a much lesser charge and he will do little or no time.

So long as the police abuse and kill only low status poor people they will rarely be held to account for their actions. If the dead victim here was the mayor's son, and the killing was captured on video, the officer would have been charged right off the bat.

Brutal police tactics create hatred, resentment and a sense of utter abject disgust with the law and life in general. Brutal dehumanizing police tactics create crime and poverty and create a population of hopeless and politically cynical and passive and non voting citizens. Brutal dehumanizing police tactics result in a cascade of events that leads to over two million mostly poor and minority Americans being jailed and losing heir rights to vote......and the political status quo feeds off that reality. The whole industry of the criminal/prison industrial complex sucks up trillions of dollars out of our economy draining whole generations of their lives potentials and causing immeasurable human misery and suffering.

This case is a microcosm of all that is wrong with our nation.

The real long term solution would be for all the people who are eligible to actually register to vote and for all of them to vote in their own best interests and to elect policy and lawmakers who would make common human decency and justice the norm rather than the exception.

Power corrupts. The police truly feel that they have the right to beat people up and kill them just because the officer feels upset or afraid of the "big black person" who may be acting "crazy" or "threatening".

Of course Rev Sharpton is right in that the video is what it is, regardless of the videographer......but the Rodney King video also showed clear abuse and it was dissected and it's meaning was distorted frame by frame for a jury predisposed to let the perpetrators walk. Maybe things have changed since then, let us hope so.

Part 2 follows....

Aug. 04 2014 08:44 AM

Part 2

Meanwhile, again......the only real solution is for the people who are getting screwed over to all actually use the democracy we still have left and for them to all register, vote and become as politically informed and active as is humanly possible. We are not YET at the point where that kind of activity will result in a jail sentence or summary execution....which is the case in much of the Earth. America is one of the best places to live.......let's make it better and not simply settle for a status quo in which too many millions of our society are treated as subhuman.

As for the "broken windows" theory.....why not use THAT concept to fight white collar crime and political corruption??? As it is the SCOTUS has legalized bribery. We exist in a system where the powerful and the rich get to write laws that make them more powerful and more rich at the expense of the poor, the workers and a shrinking middle class. Imagine a society where it was actually ILLEGAL for a public official to be given money by the people and entities over which they preside and in which the laws against unethical/corrupt actions were strictly enforced at every level.

The police department is no place for bullies and sadists and bigots.....there should be zero tolerance for unbalanced cops who get a kick out of being abusive to low status powerless people, or any people..... just because they can get away with it and it somehow makes them feel powerful and in control surely we can all agree with that sentence, eh?

Another irony of all this is that the cops themselves are totally underpaid and are being squeezed by the same power structure that benefits from he poor and minorities not being involved in politics and voting. Look at the threats to police pensions in Michigan and New Jersey....we need much better paid peace officers of a much higher quality. Everything a cop does on duty needs to be captured on vide/audio. The good cops would welcome such a measure as it would help them to convict real criminals and protect them from fallacious charges. Good honest decent cops must be the best of the best of us all.

It may seem that the above is "all over the map" , but I suggest to you that it's all connected.

Aug. 04 2014 08:43 AM

I know he has a prior record, but in my opinion, so do the police. At this point perhaps neither side has sufficient credibility...

Aug. 04 2014 08:08 AM

Bad things happen to good people!!!

Aug. 04 2014 12:50 AM
Catheryn from dallas

Hey sir you better be on your best behavior at all times because they are out to get you.

Aug. 03 2014 11:38 PM

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