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Man Who Filmed Eric Garner's Death Sues City for $10M for 'False' Arrest

By Nicholas Rizzi | July 27, 2016 5:28pm
 Ramsey Orta (center), who shot the cellphone video of Eric Garner's arrest and death, sued the city for $10 million claiming he was targeted for
Ramsey Orta (center), who shot the cellphone video of Eric Garner's arrest and death, sued the city for $10 million claiming he was targeted for "false" arrests after he shot the footage.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — The man who filmed the dramatic video of Eric Garner's death is suing the city for $10 million claiming police made "false" arrests as revenge for the footage.

Ramsey Orta filed a suit against the city on Tuesday accusing the NYPD of arresting him on "false and/or trumped up charges" in the 2015 arrest for drug possession in Manhattan, the New York Daily News first reported.

The charges in that arrest were eventually dropped after Orta spent 10 days in jail, which the suit claims was done to "smear" him and "discredit" the video he shot of Garner's arrest, according to the suit.

"They just pile them on and on, they’re just relentless," his lawyer, Andrew Plasse, said. "They just smear him, they malign him."

Plasse said Orta plans to file other suits against the city for some of his other arrests since he shot the video.

Earlier this month, Orta plead guilty to drug and gun charges in a Staten Island court and is expected to be sentenced to four years behind bars for the two arrests, according to the Staten Island District Attorney's office.

Orta brought national attention to the death of 43-year-old Garner in 2014 after he recorded plain clothes NYPD officers putting the father of six in a chokehold as he pleaded "I can't breathe."

A month after Orta shot the footage, he was arrested after he was spotted slipping a handgun into the waistband of a 17-year-old girl as they left a Staten Island hotel, police said.

He was arrested in Staten Island again last year, along with his mother and brother, for selling crack, heroin, oxycodone, alprazolam and marijuana in the park across the street from where Garner died, prosecutors said.

Orta has been arrested several other times since he shot the video, including in February for allegedly choking his wife and in March after police said he got too close to a traffic stop in the Lower East Side while filming it, the News reported.

In the suit, Plasse argues that the arrests against Orta were done to "discredit" him for shining "a light on the true nature of the culture of violence that is permitted in the NYPD."

Supporters rallied behind Orta for his numerous court appearances and he repeatedly said in interviews he felt he was targeted by police for shooting the video.

"From then on I've been targeted by the NYPD," Orta told Democracy Now! in January. "I've just been harassed, I've been almost killed on Rikers Island."

He told Democracy Now! that he stopped eating in Rikers Island because he feared rat poison was being put in his food.

Orta is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3.