The man who filmed New York City police officers assaulting Eric Garner — leading to his death last year — remains in jail and on a hunger strike while prosecutors sort out who donated money towards his bail, reports PIX11.
This story has been updated. Please see below.
Ramsey Orta, 23, who has been held on Riker’s Island for two months on unrelated weapons and drug charges, was expected to be released before the weekend after supporters contributed over $40,000 online towards the $16,000 needed for a bail bondsman to spring him. However Staten Island’s district attorney is now demanding a “bail source” hearing, keeping Orta in jail until at least Monday.
Orta’s GoFundMe account — set up by Orta’s aunt, Lisa Mercado — has so far raised more funds than necessary needed to get Orta released and his attorneys are accusing prosecutors of dragging their feet.
According to prosecutors, they want to make sure the money — raised from more than 1,600 donors — didn’t come from illegal sources.
“I’m amazed,” said Orta attorney Kenneth Perry. “Here the D.A. was given 115 pages of names showing who these donors were.”
According to the office of District Attorney Dan Donovan, bail source hearings are common in criminal cases, but no judge is available for Orta’s case until Monday, meaning he must remain in jail until then despite bail having already been posted.
Orta, who claims he was originally arrested after filming the Garner’s death as payback by police, has been on a hunger strike over fears that Rikers correctional facility officers will taint his food with rat poison.
Last month 19 Rikers Island inmates filed suit saying they were sickened when served meat loaf with rat pellets in it and claimed authorities at the jail attempted to cover it up.
Asked how Orta is holding up in jail, his aunt replied, “Not that great. He needs to come home.”
Update, 5:37 p.m. EST: The New York Daily News reported that Orta was released after a hearing concerning the fundraiser was pushed up to Friday afternoon.
“We’re glad the district attorney’s office realized this was the right thing to do,” Perry said.
Watch the video below from PIX11: