Man who filmed cop’s fatal chokehold arrested on gun charges

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NEW YORK — A man who captured video of the fatal confrontation between New York police and Eric Garner was arrested Saturday night on gun possession charges at a Staten Island hotel, according to a law enforcement official.

Ramsey Orta, 22, was a friend of Garner, who died July 17 after a police officer used a chokehold while arresting Garner, who was accused of selling cigarettes illegally. Orta’s cell phone video showed Garner — an asthmatic — on the ground screaming that he couldn’t breathe.

Orta is being charged with criminal possession of an unloaded weapon because he did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, the source said.

Orta was arrested leaving the hotel after police said they saw him passing an object to his girlfriend, who placed it in her waistband, according to the source. Police stopped them both and recovered a gun from the girlfriend’s waistband, the source said.

The girlfriend was also charged with possessing the gun, in addition to a marijuana charge, the official told CNN.

The gun, a .25 caliber Norton semiautomatic handgun, was reported stolen in Michigan in 2007, a second law enforcement official said.

Police were at the hotel because it’s a known drug location, the source said.

The source said it was only after the arrest that police realized Orta filmed the deadly confrontation with Garner when he told police, “You’re only mad at me because I filmed your boy.”

Demonstrators in New York called the police response during Garner’s arrest excessive and criminal. On Friday, the New York City medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is seen on the video choking Garner, was put on modified assignment and stripped of his badge and gun amid the investigation, the New York Police Department said. A second police officer was placed on desk duty. The chokehold tactic is prohibited by the NYPD.

Orta is awaiting arraignment and could not be reached.

The Staten Island district attorney’s office said Orta’s arraignment will happen Monday. The office declined to provide any further details on the arrest.


  • Chucky

    The fact is that a video captured an officer using a move that was not allowed by his department and that move caused the death of a person. It really shouldn’t be long before some murder charges are filed if things proceed like they should.

  • No Hope For Change

    Nope, no murder charges what so ever. You first have to understand what murder actually means thankfully you’re not a judge. No way is it even close to “murder”. I don’t even see the “choke hold” in the video I don’t think it even was applied. That officer can’t even get his arms around the guy. There will be no charges. I wasn’t even there I can presume the death better than the coroner, who is a biased elected position. The guy didn’t die from that weak attempt at a choke hold he died from positional asphyxia most likely when he got proned face down on his belly during the arrest. The guys enormous size and the fact that he resisted arrest (if he simply put his hands behind his back as ordered he’d be alive today) resulted in his death. Sure the city will lose a bundle due to weak minded bleeding heart jury in a civil case but if these officers get charged criminally there will be major repercussions that wouldn’t benefit society at all. I’ll let you figure that one out for yourselves.

  • B

    All he had to do was follow the commands he was given by the police. This was not murder but a accidental death by he police in an attempt to arrest a 300 plus man with asthma.

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