Orta’s friends have organized a GoFundMe to ensure his safety.
On Monday, Ramsey Orta’s fiancee revealed that the 28-year-old is now a free man. According to Rolling Stone, authorities released Orta on May 28th, over a month early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August 2019, Jacob Crawford and Deja Richardson organized the Ramsey Orta Welcome Home Fund. Donate to the campaign on GoFundMe “to ensure that Ramsey has some deserved security upon his release.” Currently, the campaign is inching towards its $300,000 goal.
In July 2014, Orta recorded officers approaching Eric Garner in Staten Island. Officer Daniel Pantaleo subsequently put Garner in a chokehold. Garner died shortly after the altercation. The video launched a wave of protests, as Garner’s last words became a rallying cry across the world. The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Garner’s death a homicide.
After a two-hour testimony, the Richmond County Grand Jury decided not to indicted Pantaleo. He was fired in August 2019, after being found guilty of using a chokehold.
After a long campaign of harassment by police, Orta was arrested on weapons charges on August 2014, a month after the incident. While incarcerated, Orta accused prison personnel of contaminating his food with rat poison. On multiple occasions, Orta says officers deliberately damaged food his fiancee brought to Rikers. Prosecutors speculated on the legality of Orta’s crowd-sourced bail money before releasing him on bail in April 2015.
In 2016, Orta took a plea deal for the charges. As part of the agreement, prosecutors dropped related charges against Orta’s mother. Orta’s sentence officially ends on July 11. Ramsey Orta will remain under court supervision until January 2022.