The man who filmed the death of Eric Garner, who’s been in jail on an unrelated charge since February, has posted bond. However, despite posting bond, he remains in jail, WPIX (New York) is reporting.
Ramsey Orta, 23, happened to be in the right place at the right time on July 17, 2014, when he witnessed officers from the NYPD arresting a man, Eric Garner, for selling untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island. Eventually, the arrest would turn fatal, as officers used an illegal choke hold to restrain the 400-pound man; he can be heard screaming “I can’t breathe!” during the arrest. He would later die from the arrest.
Orta’s video of the arrest eventually went viral, and the words “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry around the country as police brutality protests erupted. Eventually, the officers involved in the arrest were cleared of any wrongdoing.
In February of 2015, Orta was arrested on an unrelated drug charge and jailed at New York’s infamous Rikers Island. For the past week, Orta has refused to eat, claiming that his food has been laced with rat poison. As reported by Sputnik News, his claim was echoed by at least 19 other inmates in a class action lawsuit. However, the claims have not been substantiated as of this post.
Fearing for her nephew’s life, Lisa Mercado, who raised Orta as her own son, started an online fundraising campaign to raise bail money for Ramsey. The campaign has raised over $46,000 as of this post — well over the $16,000 needed to post Ramsey’s bond. Mercado paid the bond on Thursday, but as of this post, Orta has still not been released.
So why hasn’t the man who filmed Eric Garner’s choke hold death been released from jail, despite posting bond?
Officially, according to Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, it’s because the State needs to make sure that none of the money raised for Orta’s bond came from illegal sources. However, when contacted by Sputnik News, Donovan’s office refused to address whether or not bond money raised by crowdfunding is illegal.
Mercado was heartbroken by the news.
“[I’m] devastated. I haven’t stopped crying since I learned two hours ago.”
Orta, meanwhile, released a statement from behind bars, thanking his donors and supporters for rallying behind his cause.
“Thank you all for supporting me when NYPD has me down and pinned, thank you for helping my aunt in this movement, I will be home soon and my camera is going to be up in the air, and as long as I have all of you by my side I know I won’t be touched, Thanks!”
A judge will hear Orta’s case on Monday and will decide whether or not to allow the man who filmed Eric Garner’s death to be released on bond.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/a katz]