One person involved in the chokehold death of unarmed Eric Garner has been charged, but it wasn't the officer who killed him — it was the man who filmed it happening.
Yesterday, a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Garner, igniting nationwide protests. Garner, a 43-year-old black man, died after Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. The encounter was caught on tape and the New York City medical examiner's report listed Garner's death as a homicide. But, the only person involved in this case who has been indicted is Ramsey Orta.
Three weeks after Garner's death, Orta was arrested on gun possession charges. Police claimed they observed Orta outside a hotel with 17-year-old Alba Lekaj on August 2, where he allegedly slipped a handgun into Lekaj's waistband. They approached and arrested both Orta and Lekaj.
But, Orta claims the allegations are false and his arrest was a retaliatory move by the police to punish him for the Garner video. "When they searched me, they didn't find nothing on me," Orta told the Staten Island Advance. After his arrest, Orta claims, the arresting officer said, "Karma's a bitch."
Though Lekaj was found to have the gun on her person, she was not charged for possession. The weapon was found to have no fingerprints. Orta's indictment includes two felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession.
Orta maintains the arrest was a setup. "I had nothing to do with this," he claims. And, after witnessing Garner's death, he said, "I would be stupid to walk around with a gun." His wife, Chrissie Ortiz, added, "It's obvious what they're doing. They're trying to shut him up...They're bringing up his past, when they should be bringing up the officer's past, who committed this murder."