*The man who filmed the police killing of Eric Garner in 2014 has been released from prison after serving four years.
In 2016, Ramsey Orta was sentenced to prison for weapon possession as well as drug charges, per New York Daily News.
A year after filming Garner’s fatal arrest, Orta expressed regret for getting involved because the public attention ruined his life, Time magazine reported.
“Sometimes I regret just not minding my business,” he said. “Because it just put me in a messed-up predicament.”
Here’s more from the Time report:
Orta released the video to the New York Daily News the day after Garner’s death. Since then, Orta says that police have harassed him and his family. In the weeks after Garner’s death, he released two videos on YouTube in which he claims he was unfairly targeted by police. He says he was stopped twice for robberies in which he had no involvement and claims that police shone lights in the windows of his Staten Island home.
On Feb. 10, Orta, his mother, and brother, Michael Batista, were arrested on multiple drug charges after police entered their home in the early morning hours. All three were charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor drug counts. Those cases are still pending. Orta’s mother says she’s been in therapy since the incident for what she describes as post-traumatic stress disorder.
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“The NYPD tried to send a message to New Yorkers and the world: if you film the police kill someone, it is you who is going to pay…. This messaging backfired and has only galvanized more people.” – @WeCopwatch on #RamseyOrta
— Anti-Fascist AWK (@AWKWORDrap) June 9, 2020
Orta believes he was targeted by New York police after video went viral of Garner’s chokehold death at the hands of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
Pantaleo was found guilty at a disciplinary trial, and fired in August 2019 without pension for using a chokehold on Garner.
Earlier this week, New York lawmakers passed a bill named in honor Eric Garner that bans police use of chokeholds.
Gossip On This writes, “The bill ensures that any police officer who injures or kills someone through the use of a “chokehold or similar restraint” would be charged with a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.”
As for Orta, there’s currently a GoFundMe campaign raising money for him. Over $300,000 has been raised so far, surpassing its $200,000 goal.