Ramsey Orta filmed NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo as he arrested and killed Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes. Pantaleo is seen in the video placing Garner in a chokehold while Garner says “I can’t breathe” eleven times.
What We Know:
- In 2014, Orta filmed killing of his friend Eric Garner. The video went viral and brought widespread attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. Orta is a member of Copwatch, an activist organization meant to monitor and document police brutality and misconduct. Officer Pantaleo, the man responsible for Garner’s death, was fired in 2019 and he was never arrested.
- Orta was arrested multiple times for drug related crimes. In 2015, while incarcerated on Rikers Island, Orta believed the guards were trying to poison him. Guards threatened and harrased him for the Garner video, and he stopped eating the prison food. In March of 2015, guards served meatloaf to Orta’s cell block. Guards ordered Orta to eat and beat him when he refused. The prisoners who ate the food fell ill and Orta saved a piece of meatloaf to have it tested. Later tests showed that the meatloaf had brodifacoum in it, the active ingredient in rat poison.
- In 2016, Orta was sentenced to 4 years for weapons and drug charges. He served his time at Groveland Correctional Facility. He would only eat food that he prepared or came in packages from his fiancée, Deja Richardson. Orta claimed that prison guards beat him, falsified offenses, and destroyed his packages to break his will and get him to commit suicide.
- Orta was released on May 28, according to Rolling Stone. He will remain under court supervision until January of 2022. In August of 2019, a GoFundMe was set up to raise money for him after his release. It has raised over $200,000.
Ramsey Orta filmed Eric Garner as he said his last words: “I can’t breathe”. He is being released from prison 6 years later, shortly after George Floyd said the same words.