The Eric Garner case is hitting home with people on both sides of the aisle, and for good reason. It’s hard to imagine a more terrifying scenario: stopped by the police for a minor infraction based on a ridiculous tax law, dead in seconds after repeatedly begging for mercy from authorities, who stood by almost completely uninterested. The video of Garner being choked by an officer isn’t just about an overreaching authority at every level, from legislative to on-the-street enforcement, it is, as Matt Lewis notes in his piece at The Week, a horrifying example of utter callousness at the value and dignity of human life.
Whether you feel the grand jury’s decision is right or not – and honestly, while I was able to see how the grand jury reached it’s conclusion in the case of officer Darren Wilson, I’m having a difficult time understanding their conclusions here – the video of Garner’s treatment at the hands of New York police is a piece of key evidence. Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the alleged assault, is, quite shockingly, the only person involved in the entire affair who will face a trial.
Despite his contention of a frame-up, Ramsey Orta’s testimony didn’t sway a grand jury, which indicted him on weapon charges, stemming from an Aug. 2 arrest, it was revealed in court Friday.
Orta, 22, who filmed an NYPD officer’s fatal chokehold of Eric Garner last month, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in state Supreme Court, St. George.
Cops allege Orta stuffed an unloaded .25 caliber handgun into the waistband of Alba Lekaj, 17, outside the Hotel Richmond at 71 Central Ave., St. George, two weeks ago. Officers recovered the weapon, said police.
Orta contends that the police and prosecutors “trumped up” the charges in retaliation for his filming of the Garner affair. Orta is charged with felony third-degree weapons possession, felony criminal firearm possession and misdemeanor weapons possession. His defense attorney, who entered the not guilty plea on Orta’s behalf, requested a reduced bail of $25,000. Orta’s previous bail was set at $75,000. No fingerprints were found on the gun that Orta allegedly stuffed in his pants during his interaction with officers. Prosecutors are awaiting a test that would show other forms of DNA on the weapon.
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