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Man Who Filmed Eric Garner Video Sentenced to 4 Years in Jail

By Nicholas Rizzi | October 3, 2016 3:48pm
 Ramsey Orta (center), who shot the video of the Eric Garner arrest, was sentenced to four years in jail after he pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges.
Ramsey Orta (center), who shot the video of the Eric Garner arrest, was sentenced to four years in jail after he pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — The man who filmed the death of Eric Garner was sentenced to four years in jail Monday after pleading guilty to gun and drug charges, the Staten Island District Attorney's office said.

Ramsey Orta, 24, started his sentence on Monday, the DA said.

He brought national attention to the death of Garner, 43, when he recorded plain-clothes NYPD officers putting the father of six in an apparent chokehold as he pleaded, "I can't breathe."

On Monday, Orta documented his trip from the Staten Island Ferry to his sentencing then on the bus to Rikers Island on Facebook.

"N---ers shouldn't be going to jail for doing the right thing, but it is what it is," Orta said in the video. "We're taking a stand and we're going to be here."

"I'm not going nowhere and I'm coming right back out," he said.

A month after Orta took the 2014 cellphone video of Garner's death, he was accused of slipping a handgun into the waistband of a 17-year-old girl as they left a Staten Island hotel, police said.

He was arrested again in Feb. 2015 with his mother and brother and accused of selling crack, heroin, oxycodone, alprazolam and marijuana in the park across the street from where Garner died.

Orta was hit with a 34-count indictment for selling the drugs to undercover officers in the park between November 2014 and Feb. 4, 2015, according to court documents.

In July, he pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance for selling heroin and criminal possession of a weapon.

Supporters rallied in support of Orta outside his numerous court appearances and some chanted "No justice no peace! F--k these racist police!" at his sentencing, the New York Daily News reported.

Orta has said he was targeted by police after he shot the video. He filed a $10 million suit in July against the city claiming police made "false" arrests as revenge for the footage.

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

"They just smear him, they malign him."

The suit accused the NYPD of arresting him on "false and/or trumped up charges" in 2015 for drug possession in Manhattan. Those charges were eventually dropped after Orta spent 10 days in jail.

In the video before his sentencing, Orta — who previously told Democracy Now! he stopped eating in Rikers because he feared rat poison was being put in his food — said he was nervous of similar things happening again.

"I don't got no plans of being trapped up in there," he said. "If anything do happen, man, it's because of these pigs f---ing with me."