WeCopWatch activist Ramsey Orta is expected to turn himself in to prison in early October for charges he says were trumped-up following his filming of the death of Eric Garner.
The man who filmed the infamous video of Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the New York Police Department will soon become the only person who was present at Garner’s death to face prison time. Ramsey Orta is heading to prison for four years based on charges he says are a direct retaliation for filming Garner’s death.
“The man who filmed the police killing of Eric Garner, Ramsey Orta, is now heading to jail for four years on unrelated charges—making him the only person at the scene of Garner’s killing who will serve jail time,” TIME reported last summer. “Last week Orta took a plea deal on weapons and drug charges. He says he has been repeatedly arrested and harassed by cops since he filmed the fatal police chokehold nearly two years ago.”
Ramsey told TIME he was living on State Island at the time of the death and knew Eric Garner. After filming the death by chokehold and releasing it to the media, Ramsey began reporting harassment and intimidation from the police. According to TIME, Orta was arrested three times since August 2014. He says he was the victim of an attempted poisoning while he was behind bars.
The first, for criminal possession of a handgun he allegedly tried to give a 17-year-old, came a day after Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner. In February, he was arrested again on multiple charges of selling and possessing drugs. The third came on June 30 when he was accused of selling MDMA to an undercover cop. A lab test later showed that the alleged MDMA was fake and the charges were reduced. All told, Orta is facing more than 60 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
The media and law enforcement have attempted to make an example out of Ramsey, attempting to paint him as a criminal for law infractions that took place in his past. Orta was found guilty of attempted sale of a controlled substance in 2011 and criminal possession of stolen property in 2012. Ramsey now prepares to turn himself into prison in October and WeCopWatch, the activist group that recruited Ramsey, says he is going to need ongoing support.
“When we pulled Ramsey into WeCopwatch a year ago we began to see first hand the type of treatment Ramsey had been experiencing,” reads a forthcoming statement from Kevin Moore, David Whitt and Jacob Crawford of WeCopwatch. “Covert and overt surveillance, as well as coordinated online attacks which were carried out to discredit Ramsey, separate him from his support network, and put his life in danger, specifically once he was behind bars.”
WeCopWatch says Ramsey “was targeted because of his courage” and insists he is not guilty. The group says Ramsey was set up on a weapons charge despite not being in possession of a gun. “He was arrested, his charges were stacked, and his charges were all folded into one case putting him in a situation where was he was facing decades of prison time,” the group writes. WeCopWatch says they have also been the victims of infiltration attempts and surveillance.
“I’m glad to see people coming around on these bad terms to learn and understand what we as Black and Brown people are fighting,” Orta told Activist Post. “Never forget we are one, we are all Brothers and Sisters, and most of all we want peace. We want an end to Police Brutality, and the start of holding police accountable. We the people want to feel safe and not worry if our kid is next. All we want is justice.”
WeCopwatch has launched a new Facebook page that will provide updates on Ramsey Orta’s situation and information on how supporters can help him directly. The group will post Orta’s mailing address once he is housed in prison. Until then you can donate to his PayPal [email protected] and get regular updates of how he is and what he needs at the Support Ramsey Orta Facebook page.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact [email protected]
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