The Eric Garner grand jury testimony is revealed, as told by Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the chokehold video when Garner died after being subdued by police.
Orta, who was present and filmed a video of Garner being held down by police in July in New York City, tells the New York Daily News exclusively that the grand jury couldn’t have cared less about what he had to say in his testimony. Orta’s attorney told him he would be testifying for around 30 minutes, but he alleges the grand jury heard only 10 minutes of what he had to say.
According to the 22-year-old, some of the jurors were two hours late. When they were all ready to hear his testimony of what happened to Garner that day, he didn’t have their full attention. This is why the videographer isn’t surprised the indictment decision turned out to be what it was. He believes the grand jury was rigged in the investigation of Eric Garner.
Some of the jurors were on their cell phones while some were talking amongst themselves “like it was just a regular day to them,” Orta says.
“I feel like they didn’t give (Garner) a fair grand jury.”
Ramsey Orta felt interrogated during the grand jury process. He assumes it was the prosecutor who asked him what Garner was doing at the location he was at and demanded to know where Orta himself was standing when he took the video of Daniel Pantaleo holding Garner down in a chokehold position.
Orta continues that the jury “wasn’t even asking no questions about the police officer, he was asking all the questions towards Eric. What was Eric doing there? Why was Eric there?” The bystander of the incident says “nothing pertaining to the cop choking” Garner was brought up. He did say that “maybe three” questions in connection with the choking were asked, but that’s it.
At one point in the testimony, Orta grew frustrated and let the jurors know that he thought the questions should be directed elsewhere and not at himself or Eric Garner. He was instructed by the prosecutor to “watch how I talked.”
“I said, ‘First of all, you ain’t gonna tell me how to talk. These are my feelings and I feel like there should be no sugar coating.”
Orta is happy that at least the Justice Department will conduct its own investigation.
“The feds should pick it up,” Orga says. “Staten Island is too tied up. They all know each other. They won’t violate their own kind.”
For his part in the video, Orta explains that it’s all right there in front of the grand jury and that no one should have to fight for what’s right when the evidence of what happened to Garner is in front of everyone.
The owner of a business where Garner was subdued by police took part in the testimony, too. Rodney Lee owns a beauty supply store where the struggle happened. He felt judged by the grand jury in the way they looked at him throughout his testimony. His view of what happened was never brought up or how he felt about it. Lee thinks they considered he and other witnesses as “dumb.”
“I’m pretty sure there were about 20 of us saying the same thing, that this was not right. They all treated us like we were dumb, like we didn’t know nothing… I mean, what was the point of us even being there if they weren’t going to listen to us.”
A grand jury in South Carolina did indict a white police officer Tuesday for shooting and killing an unarmed black man back in 2011. Richard Combs is indicted on murder charges for the death of Bernard Bailey, CBS News reports.
[Image via NY Daily News]