Ramsey Orta, The Guy Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Death, Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

orta-1024x576By Amanda Froelich

In another display of America’s backward legal system, Ramsey Orta – the man who filmed the death of Eric Garner – was sentenced to four years in prison this Monday.

According to Gothamist, he was sentenced because of weapon and drug-related charges. Supporters of the activist, however, maintain that the charges are ‘bogus’ and are an effect of a biased, corrupt justice system. They say he is a victim of police retaliation and have also expressed concern about his well-being in jail while he serves his sentence.

After Justice Stephen Rooney read out Orta’s sentence in Staten Island Supreme Court, protesters chanted “No justice no peace! F—ck these racist police!”.

Orta’s aunt told the press:

We’re feeling really upset. I would tell the police, don’t touch him. Hands off Ramsey. Leave him alone in jail.

The 25-year-old activist who filmed police putting Garner in a chokehold before his death told his attorneys that filming the African American’s death put a target on his back.

Last week, before his sentence was decided, Orta told Al Jazeera:

[Hours after] Eric died, at 4am in the morning, there was a spotlight shining through my window. I looked out the window and there was a cop [police] car outside. They parked outside my house and stopped people coming in and out of my house. That was going on until the day they ruled it [Garner’s case] a homicide. I’ve been arrested and let out many times. And now I am convicted of only two of seven cases.

In August 2014, the activist was arrested for possession of a firearm. Then in February 2015, he received a sentence for allegedly selling drugs to undercover officers. He was arrested just a few months later for allegedly selling MDMA to an undercover NYPD officer on the Lower East Side.

In February 2016, Orta was also arrested after allegedly menacing his wife Jessica Hollie (also an activist, a.k.a. Bella Eiko) with a knife and choking her during a domestic dispute. A few days later, Hollie launched an online campaign to raise bail money for Orta, similarly to what was done after he went to jail in February of 2015. She argued in her husband’s defense, saying that he has been consistently “harassed” by the NYPD since publicizing the video of Garner’s death. She also said that the February incident had been blown out of proportion. All charges have since been dropped.

In response to the alleged police harassment, Orta filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city this summer. He stated that arrests since Garner’s death have been retaliation for his documentation of police brutality.

1garnerEric Garner – Credit: popularresistance.org

Orta is not alone in his belief that he’s being harassed. In August, more than 40 documentarians sent a letter to the federal justice department, urging that body to investigate the harassment and “targeting” of citizen journalists. They referenced Orta, as well as Chris LeDay and Abdullah Muflahi (who filmed the death of Alton Sterling), and Diamon “Lavish” Reynolds, who captured and shared the footage of police killing her boyfriend, Philando Castile. They wrote:

Mainstream media has paid ample attention to the images captured by these citizen journalists. Largely, it has ignored the methods in which they were recorded and distributed, and the penalties for those involved.

Reportedly, Orta pleaded guilty to the charges because he is “tired of fighting”. Activists, however, will not be silent on the matter, especially if his sentence is a result of police harassment.

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One of many individuals who is thankful for Orta’s sacrifice is Jewel Miller, the mother of Eric Garner’s youngest son. After Garner’s death in 2014, she told the media:

Ramsey filmed Eric’s last words, and that’s how my child will hear his voice. Ramsey Orta is a young boy. He’s just getting into adulthood. He’s just becoming a man and it’s really sad.

Please share this news to raise awareness about Orta’s plight and comment your thoughts below!

This article (Ramsey Orta, The Guy Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Death, Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

Top Image Credit: DemocracyNow.org

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6 Comments on "Ramsey Orta, The Guy Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Death, Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison"

  1. CELLAPHANEMANtheDEPLORABLE | October 6, 2016 at 6:45 am |

    Sounds par. Bring a camera and go to jail. Sell military secrets out of a basement server and make hundreds of millions.

  2. No where had this man injured person or property. The police; the largest most violent criminal street gang in America… how does it make you feel to know you paid for this?


  4. Epitomizes the danger of the surveillance society, a panopticon, every move is recorded. Try to dissent and the authorities dig up something on you…jaywalking, forgot to claim your measly saving account interest as income to the IRS – whatever they can find. Eliot Spitzer is one high profile example. Files on everyone.

  5. The War of Restoration by Sovereigns overthrowing corrupt, murderous politicians, bureaucrats, educators, courts, police, all Marxists and as many media liars as necessary is one less trigger away ….

  6. The corrupt dirty cops, whether federal or state, have all the power and control, and if you make them look bad, no matter how bad they are, they will get you. Vengeance. Revenge is the code for folks in uniforms carrying guns. We need to stand up for whistleblowers. We need to stop harassment and stalking and abuse by cops. This guy would have needed to move to a new state to have a life. The cops were on him like super glue. The cops own thousands of filthy criminals who would kill for a few days off their sentence or a few bucks to buy illicit drugs inside. I pray for his safety. Since the cops own all the dirty judges, this guy never had a chance. Way too many judges should have gotten DUI’s but got off, or did something that the cops can hold over their heads. I knew several judges in Colorado who had racked up “arrests” for cocaine and multiple DUI’s and were owned by the cops. The cops told them what to do to criminal defendants. There is no integrity in the criminal justice system. None. Don’t even get me started on power tripping prosecutors and why 97% of all appointed judges were prosecutors.

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