Man Who Filmed Deadly NYPD Chokehold Arrested

Sharpton says Orta bust creates conflict of interest

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 4, 2014 8:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the NYPD chokehold that killed an unarmed man, was arrested Saturday night for allegedly trying to pass off a stolen gun—and was denounced by the head of the police union. "It is criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers," the union president said in a statement that the Rev. Al Sharpton called the "sickest logic that I ever heard," reports the New York Daily News. Orta, who has been arrested 24 times since 2009, recorded police as they pinned 43-year-old Eric Garner to the ground last month despite the asthmatic 350-pound man's pleas that he couldn't breathe.

Garner's death has been ruled a homicide, and Sharpton told reporters that Orta's arrest created a conflict of interest for the district attorney's office, the New York Times reports. "Let the federal government handle it, so that there is no question about the objectivity of the investigation," he said. Police say Orta, who was arrested in a location known for drugs, wasn't deliberately targeted. A police source tells CNN that after his arrest, Orta told officers, "You're only mad at me because I filmed your boy." The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993 and Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who placed Garner in one, has been suspended. The chief of the police union says the officer is "distraught" over the death. "No one wants to have to deal with the fact that someone died because of something they had to do," he says.

Eric Garner is seen in this family photo provided by the National Action Network.
Eric Garner is seen in this family photo provided by the National Action Network.   (AP Photo/Family photo via National Action Network, File)
The Rev. Al Sharpton introduces Ramsey Orta at the funeral of Eric Garner at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church last month.
The Rev. Al Sharpton introduces Ramsey Orta at the funeral of Eric Garner at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church last month.   (AP Photo/New York Daily News, Julia Xanthos, Pool)
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