Ramsey Orta, the man who shot the video of Eric Garner being killed by police last year, remains at Rikers Island, held on $100,000 bond on weapons possession charges.
However, supporters say his imprisonment is retaliation for recording the video of one of the nation’s most controversial cases of police brutality. The same movement that pounded the pavement for Garner is now standing behind Orta.
An interview Orta did for Time magazine’s website recently won a first-place World Press Photo Multimedia Award in the Short Feature category. The video was shot by Time’s Deputy Director of Photography Paul Moakley.
Prosecutors were unable to determine the certainty of whether Orta’s DNA was on a gun during a bust. His fingerprints were not on the weapon. Orta was arrested last August during the bust in which officers say he passed a .25-caliber gun to a female associate.
Orta is also accused of selling drugs to an undercover cop on nine occasions. Along with his supporters, he believes he’s being targeted for recording Garner’s death at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. The officer was not indicted by a Staten Island grand jury.
A GoFundMe page has been established to raise Orta’s bail. His family has retained criminal defense attorneys Perry & Aronin, PLLC. The bail bond to get Orta out is $16,000. Any donations made in excess of $16,250 will go directly to pay for Orta’s legal defense. As of Wednesday, nearly $3,700 had been raised.
“Ramsey Orta did this country a great service and exposed a true injustice,” the web page said. “Please help if you can.”
Police brutality veteran activist Juanita Young, whose son Malcolm Ferguson was killed by police in 2000, is supporting the family in raising funds for Orta’s bail.
“The urgent need is necessary to raise this money because Ramsey is afraid for his life and has been eating only candy bars due to inmates’ charges of being served rat poison in their meals two weeks ago,” she said. “This is an outrage because he risked his life filming the murder of Eric Garner, which sparked protests throughout the world, yet financial support for him has been very limited.”
Online, supporters of Orta from across the nation also believe he is being targeted for recording Garner’s death.
“Orta is intended to be imprisoned because he volunteered for battle on behalf of justice for Eric Garner, a man whose murder America has ruled ‘justified’ because he was born Black in this racist war zone called the United States,” said Mary Neal of Atlanta, Ga., on Facebook.