While a Staten Island grand jury decided on Wednesday not to indict the New York City police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, prosecutors were able to secure an indictment against the man who filmed the fatal encounter.
As the Staten Island Advance reported, 22-year-old Ramsey Orta was indicted this past August, 13 days after being arrested and charged with felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession.
Authorities argued that Orta stuffed an unloaded gun inside 17-year-old Alba Lekaj’s waistband outside a hotel. But Orta has said that the charges against him were trumped up as retaliation for filming Garner being grabbed from behind by Officer Daniel Pantaleo. The city’s medical examiner determined that Garner’s death was a “homicide by chokehold.”
“When they searched me, they didn’t find nothing on me,” Orta said to the Advance regarding his arrest. “And the same cop that searched me, he told me clearly himself, that karma’s a b*tch, what goes around comes around,” Orta said, adding later, “I had nothing to do with this. I would be stupid to walk around with a gun after me being in the spotlight.”
Orta had two other cases against him pending at the time of his indictment, including charges of robbery and hitting a man who was collecting bottles outside his home.
Just before Orta’s indictment, his wife, 30-year-old Chrissie Ortiz, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking another woman. Ortiz had also called the charges against him “total B.S.”
“It’s obvious what they’re doing: they’re trying to shut him up,” Ortiz said at the time of her husband’s indictment. “They’re trying to keep him away. They’re trying to find anything to crucify him. They’re bringing up his past, when they should be bringing up the officer’s past, who committed this murder.”