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Man Who Taped Asthmatic New Yorker's Chokehold Death Arrested

Ramsey Orta, 22, was arrested Sunday night for gun-related charges, the New York Police Department said.

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The 22-year-old man who taped a fatal police chokehold has been arrested for gun charges, NBC New York reported.

Ramsey Orta was arrested for two counts of criminal possession of a firearm on Sunday night in Staten Island, only a few blocks from where he videotaped police arresting an asthmatic man, who died shortly after police placed him in a chokehold.

The death of Eric Garner, 43, was ruled a homicide caused by the aggressive force of police officers by the New York Medical Examiner's Office.

The NYPD officer who placed Garner in the chokehold was stripped of his gun and badge and four ambulance workers were suspended without pay.


Police said Orta had a previous conviction that restricted him from owning a weapon.

He is expected to appear in court this month for a May arrest for armed robbery and for an arrest three days before before Garner's death for an assault charge, according to the Associated Press.

Some supported the arrest of Orta, such as Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch, who said in a statement that the arrest "only underscores the dangers that brought police officers to respond to a chronic crime condition in that community."

Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been outspoken against the police use of force in this case, said Sunday, "No one is questioning the validity of the tape, and the medical examiner has validated it."

"If you're a policeman, you're trained to deal with crime, you're not trained to commit a crime," Sharpton said. "The chokehold is illegal."


Police said Orta was arrested after he was seen stuffing his handgun into the waistband of his 17-year-old female companion's pants as they emerged from a "known drug prone location."

The recovered gun was reported stolen in 2007, police said.

The 17-year-old was charged with criminal possession of a gun and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Orta's wife, Chrissie Ortiz, said she believed the arrest was a setup.

"It's not fair," said Ortiz. "And it's obvious. Once they ruled this a homicide, now you all of a sudden find something on him? C'mon. Let's be realistic. Even the dumbest criminal would know not to be doing something like that outside. So the whole story doesn't fit at all."

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

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