Ramsey Orta, the 23-year-old Staten Island man who recorded video of the takedown of Eric Garner that led to demonstrations for justice in New York and elsewhere, has been locked up at Rikers Island since February on drug charges unrelated to the Garner incident. He was also arrested for gun possession in August. A GoFundMe campaign launched by his family to crowdfund Orta’s $16,000 bond has raised over $40,000, and his aunt told PIX11 that she submitted his bail on Thursday. Orta, however, remains jailed, as the Staten Island District Attorney’s office received approval to hold a hearing to determine if the bond money was raised legally. The hearing was originally scheduled for Monday, then rescheduled for Friday afternoon, then withdrawn.
Orta’s attorneys believe that he will be released Friday night, Saturday morning at the latest.
“I think the amount of press attention and public support had something to do with getting this changed,” Orta’s lawyer Ken Perry told ANIMAL.
Department of Corrections press officer Jack Ryan declined to comment at press time, but said that Ramsey’s situation is in flux as the DOC is looking into the case. William Aronin, another of Orta’s lawyers, said he believes that this means that Orta will probably be released tonight.
When asked if he believed Orta had been unfairly targeted due to his association with the Garner situation, Perry said “that’s not something I should comment on.”
“The story speaks for itself,” he said.
Orta has been on hunger strike since last week due to worries that he may be being poisoned after rodenticide was found in some prisoners’ food, though no poison has been found in his food. He told Time before his arrest in August that police had been harassing him since the video went public.
(Photo: Stefan Jeremiah)