Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the death of Eric Garner, has been released from prison. According to Rolling Stone, Orta was released on May 28. His release was confirmed by his girlfriend and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Orta was sentenced to four years in prison for criminal possession and criminal sale of a controlled substance, according to inmate records. Orta will be under parole supervision until July 11 and will be under post-release supervision until January 2022.
Orta is the man that made Garner’s death gain national attention. When Garner was approached by New York Police Department officers in July 2014, Orta recorded the encounter that led to Garner’s death and galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. The video he recorded on his cell phone was key evidence in trials surrounding Garner’s death.
Orta Regrets Filming Garner’s Final Moments
After the fatal incident, Orta said he actually regretted recording Garner’s last moments because it led to him being harassed by police officers in his community and later during his time behind bars.
While Orta was incarcerated, he claimed that he was mistreated by correctional officers, called racist names, beaten and denied certain liberties without any justifiable reason as retaliation for filming the incident with Garner. He even filed a lawsuit against New York City’s Department of Correction back in 2015 alleging that his food was poisoned by Riker’s Island staff. According to the Verge, Orta had become sick multiple times during his stay at Riker’s Island and suspected that his food had been poisoned. When his food was tested, it was found that the meatloaf he had been eating tested positive for brodifacoum, an active ingredient in rodenticide.
“Since Ramsey has been in jail—as a result of a case where I believe he was set up—he’s been harassed and punished in solitary confinement,” anti-police brutality activist Josmar Trujillo told the Amsterdam News. “On one occasion when myself and others tried to visit him, we were turned away at the door and given no reason even after repeatedly confirming with the prison about visiting hours.”
Orta also filed a lawsuit against Daniel Donovan, a Staten Island, New York, congressman, for telling the New York Daily News and the New York Post that he had been convicted of rape, something Orta denied, SI Live reported.
The Chokehold That Was Used on Eric Garner Has Been Made Illegal in New York City
On June 9, the New York Assembly passed the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act, which makes the chokehold, which was banned in 1993, a class C felony. If an NYPD police officer uses this chokehold, they will now face up to 15 years in prison. The new law also created a new crime of aggravated strangulation, which is defined as “when a police or peace officer, using a chokehold or similar restraint, applies pressure to the throat or windpipe of a person, hindering breathing or the intake of air, and causes serious physical injury or death.”
Even though the chokehold was banned over two decades ago, 996 complaints submitted to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board mentioned the chokehold being used during an arrest from 2014 to 2020.