Man Who Filmed Eric Garner In Chokehold Arrested, Taken To Hospital

August 4, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the police confrontation which lead to the tragic death of Eric Garner, has been arrested in Staten Island on Saturday night. The 22-year-old is facing charges of criminal possession of an unloaded firearm. Police officers say they saw Orta attempting to pass an unloaded .25 caliber gun to a 17-year-old female near a hotel notorious for drug activity. The 17-year-old girl is also being charged “with possession of the gun and possession of a small amount of marijuana.”

Shortly after his arrest by a plainclothes officer, Orta was taken to Staten Island University Hospital for an undisclosed medical condition.

Orta’s family members are convinced that the charges are “trumped up” to “ruin his life.” Orta’s wife Chrissie Ortiz told SI Live:

They park across the street, they follow him. I’m speaking [about] the NYPD… It’s obvious. Once they rule this a homicide, now you all of a sudden find something on him? Come on, let’s be realistic. Even the dumbest criminal would know not to be doing something like that outside. So the whole story doesn’t fit at all.

On July 17th, Ortiz filmed the police arresting Eric Garner for selling untaxed “loosie” cigarettes. The asthmatic 43-year-old father of six died after officer Daniel Pantaleo (from the deeply troubled 120th Precinct) put him in an illegal chokehold, ignoring his plea, “I can’t breathe!” Friday, medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer declared Eric Garner’s death a homicide as a result of “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

Meanwhile, police union President Pat Lynch said that Pantaleo is upset by the death. Lynch also said that had Garner not resisted arrest, he might still be alive.

[Pantaleo is] distraught over it. No one wants to have to deal with the fact that someone died because of something they had to do. It’s a terrible loss.

Additionally, Lynch used Orta’s arrest to illustrate the “chronic crime” in the neighborhood.

The arrest of Ramsey Orta for criminal possession of a firearm only underscores the dangers that brought police officers to respond to a chronic crime condition in that community. Sadly, in the effort to keep neighborhoods like Tompkinsville safe, a tragedy occurred.  But that doesn’t change the fact that police officers routinely risk their lives for the benefit of the community and that they have earned their support and understanding.