Ramsey Orta, the man who shot the video footage of the deadly arrest of Eric Garner, has been released from prison early due to COVID-19.
According to Rolling Stone, Orta’s fiancée Deja Richardson confirmed the news via email. His prison sentence will officially end on July 11, but he will remain under court supervision until Jan. 2022. Almost 900 inmates have been released back into their communities due to the pandemic.
Back in 2014, Orta took out his phone to record cops after they accused Garner of selling loose cigarettes. One of the officers placed Garner in a chokehold and pulled him down to the ground. He yelled out multiple times that he couldn’t breathe and later died after the altercation.
The video Orta shot caused protests to erupt nationwide. “I can’t breathe” became a phrase that was well-known across America. Athletes such as LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant wore shirts with that phrase written on them to show support for the Garner family. The officer who placed him in a chokehold was fired — without pension — in 2019.
Since filming Garner’s deadly arrest, Orta was arrested multiple times for criminal possession of a weapon and numerous drug-related incidents. He once told Time that he regretted being involved with Garner’s arrest and the public attention put him in a “messed-up predicament.”
In 2015, Orta filed a lawsuit claiming that correctional officers placed rat poison in his food during his sentence at Rikers Island. He believed he was a target due to filming Garner’s death.
A “Ramsey Orta Welcome Home Fund” GoFundMe account has been set up for him following his release. All donations will go directly to him and his family so they can return back to a normal life. As of today (June 9), almost $261,000 has been raised.