The man who caught the final moments of Eric Garner’s life on cell
phone video was arrested on Saturday evening and charged with gun
possession, police said.
Authorities said Ramsey Orta, 22, was seen by narcotics officers
entering a hotel on Staten Island’s Central Avenue that local police
consider a known narcotics hotspot at around 9:45 p.m. Saturday with an
17-year-old girl identified as Alba Lekaj.
Police said Orta stepped out of the hotel when he noticed officers
approaching him. According to investigators, Orta then placed a .25
caliber handgun in his possession inside the Lekaj’s waistband before
they were apprehended by police.
The gun, which is said to have been reported stolen in Michigan in 2007, was unloaded.
Both Orta and Lekaj are in police custom and face charges for
criminal possession of the firearm. Lekaj also faces a possesion charge
after offers found marijuana on her.
This is Orta’s second time caught by police with a gun, according to investigators.
On July 17, Orta was at the street corner where Garner — a
43-year-old, 350-pound father of six — was arrested for allegedly
selling loose cigarettes. Orta’s cell phone camera caught the arrest
when Officer Daniel Pantaleo is seen on video placing approach Garner
from behind before wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck.
On late Friday, the city’s medical examiner officially declared the
cause of Garner’s death a homicide by “compression of neck (chokehold),
compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by
On Sunday afternoon, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — which
earlier argued that Garner would be alive if he had not resisted arrest,
said “criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to
benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.”
Requests for comment by an attorney who has previously represented Orta were not immediately returned.
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