News of the fatal police encounter that led to Eric Garner’s death went viral with help of a video recording. That video was taken by Ramsey Orta, a Staten Island man and friend of Garner’s. In a brand new interview, Orta says he and Garner were deciding where to eat dinner when a fight broke out nearby. Garner successfully helped break it up, Orta says, but things took a turn for the worst when New York Police Department officers arrived on the scene. Time.com got the story:
Orta recorded the incident on his phone and the video has helped turn the fatal encounter from a local tragedy into a national debate over the use of force by police. Orta, 22, says he’s known Garner for several years and called him “the neighborhood dad.” Orta’s video shows what appears to be one officer pressing Garner’s face into the sidewalk as other officers attempt to subdue him. On the ground, Garner can be heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.”
“I felt like they treated him wrong even after the fact that they had him contained,” Orta says.
Orta recorded another violent arrest at the same location in Staten Island a week earlier. He says officers have harassed him since the Garner video became public, but he says he isn’t likely to put his camera away if something happens in his Staten Island neighborhood again.
“It just gives me more power to not be afraid to pull out my camera anytime,” he says. “Even if they’re pushing me back, I might just like keep going forward and if I get arrested, hey, I got something on camera.” Read more.