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News > World

Man Who Filmed Eric Garner Death to Be Jailed After NYPD Abuse

  • Orta said that his food at Rikers Island had rat poisoning and went on a month and a half-long hunger strike.

    Orta said that his food at Rikers Island had rat poisoning and went on a month and a half-long hunger strike. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 July 2016

Ramsey Orta said that the NYPD has intimidated him more than usual since he gained fame for filming his friend's murder.

The man who filmed Eric Garner’s death plead guilty Thursday and will likely face four years in prison after he said he has regularly been harassed by the NYPD since releasing the video.

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"I'm supposed to be copping out," said Ramsey Orta, who was a friend of Garner and has been arrested several times since his death in 2014, to the New York Daily News. “I’m pretty much tired of fighting.”

Orta said he will plead guilty to one drug and two weapon possession cases from after Garner’s death and to two disorderly conduct cases from before. Orta is the only person present at Garner’s murder to receive jail time. A grand jury decided not to indict the officer that he filmed, Daniel Pantaleo.

Orta said in a Democracy Now interview that while he was arrested for one of the drug cases, a police officer jumped on him with a camera, saying: “You filmed us, so now we’re filming you.”

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He also said that he went on a six week-long hunger strike while detained at Rikers Island because he found rat poison in his food. Orta left Staten Island, where he lives, because he faced so much police harassment.

“Even before the cop situation, I feared for my life in New York. It’s just New York for you,” said Orta in an interview with Ñ Don’t Stop. “But now with the cops being involved (since Garner’s death), it’s a little more intimidation.”

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He said that he had previously caught the NYPD abusing their power on tape, and that he has taken the support he received after Garner’s high-profile case to educate his community on their rights.

When asked by Democracy Now if he would sue the NYPD, he said he would since they “(t)ook my life away from me, took my friend’s life away from me. There’s nothing more I could say.”

Police also accused Orta of assaulting his wife, which they allegedly caught on video, but the charges were dropped and Orta said he was on good terms with his wife at the time.

Orta was released on bail, fundraised by his friends, after about three months on Rikers Island.

“I am sorry for not having a legal defense before I actually put the video out there,” said Orta to Democracy Now. “Other than that, I don’t regret nothing.”

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