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Ramsey Orta, Man Who Recorded Eric Garner’s Death, Fears For His Life In Prison

“They know this is how to kill me, by getting me to kill myself.”

Ramsey Orta, the man who recorded Eric Garner being killed by an NYPD officer, fears for his life behind bars. Orta, who is currently serving out a four-year sentence at the Groveland Correctional Facility on drug and weapons charges, spoke with The Verge about being targeted by corrections officers, including threats, beatings, being called racist names and having his food tainted.

“They f**k with my food,” he revealed. “They know I won’t eat what they give me, not since Rikers.”

Orta shared that after his 2015 arrest he was taken to Riker’s Island where he became an immediate target of CO’s who told him during intake, “you're ours,” and “not so tough without your camera.”

During one incident, Orta recalled watching inmates vomit blood from eating meatloaf (which he refused to eat) that was later found to be sprinkled with rat poisoning. Court documents filed a week later reportedly stated that the inmates suffered nausea, stomach pains, blood vomiting, dehydration, bloody diarrhea and nosebleeds.

According to Orta, he’s being harassed by CO’s and written up for small infractions, leading him to lose privileges. For example, Orta shared that he was punished with 60 days in solitary for smoking a cigarette in the wrong area of the prison. In another instance, CO’s inspected his cell and destroyed food items sent by his girlfriend. “They know this is how to kill me, by getting me to kill myself,” he said.

Orta doesn’t attempt to paint himself as having a perfect image. He’s a repeat criminal offender and admits to selling weed, pills, cocaine and other drugs, but he believes that police put him behind bars in 2015 on a “ridiculous” gun charge as a means of retaliation. According to Orta, cops pulled up on him in an unmarked van and arrested him after he sold weed to a 17-year-old girl. Police claim Orta was arrested during a stakeout, and that he was seen stuffing an unloaded .25-caliber semiautomatic weapon in the teenager’s pants. The gun had no bullets, no clip or fingerprints and was reported stolen in Michigan over a decade ago.

“I’m smart about certain things. I’ve been on the streets doing my dirt for a long time. So you have to understand how ridiculous this gun charge is,” Orta explained. “There’s no chance I’m dumb enough to give a girl a gun out in the open like that. The cops had been following me every day since Eric died, shining lights in my house every night. You think I’m walking around with a stolen gun that now they say wasn’t even loaded?”

Orta claims that a cop told him that he was better off committing suicide rather than being locked up with authorities controlling his every move. His mother apparently received a call that he was suicidal, which he believes was a tactic to kill him and make it look like a suicide. As a precaution, Orta made a video stating that if he dies in jail, it wasn’t by suicide. After posting bail from his initial bust (he pleaded not guilty to gun charges), Orta’s home was raided by police and his mother and brother were subsequently arrested for allegedly assisting in his drug deals.

Though he initially wanted to fight the charges, Orta took a plea deal to get the charges dropped against his mother. He is scheduled for release in December 2019.

Click here to read Orta's full interview.

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Father And Son Who Brutally Murdered Ahmaud Arbery Denied Bail

Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father-son duo charged for the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, were denied bail and must remain behind bars, a judge ruled on Friday (Nov. 13). Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to keep Travis, 34, and Gregory, 64, in custody.

“These men are proud of what they've done,” she said according to NBC News. “In their selfish minds, they think they're good guys.”

William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor to the McMichales', was denied bail over the summer.

Bryan recorded Arbery’s murder. All three men have been indicted on suspicion of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Investigators found racist text messages and social media posts from Travis McMichael,  Cobb County prosecutors noted in court on Thursday. Bryan also told authorities that he heard Travis use the n-word after fatally shooting Arbery.

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog in late February when the men, approached, cornered, and shot him to death. The incident was recorded on Bryan’s cell phone.

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Activist Cori Bush Becomes Missouri’s First Black Congresswoman

Ferguson activist Cori Bush is making history as the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. Bush, a Democrat, beat out Republican Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman in Tuesday’s (Nov. 3) election.

“Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago. We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest,” Bush tweeted on election night. “Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”

The historic victory came 52 years after Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress. “I shouldn’t be the first,” noted Bush in another tweet. “But I am honored to carry this responsibility.”

The First. pic.twitter.com/h3o0GxeFLR

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020

A nurse, pastor, single mother and “lifelong St. Louisan,” 44-year-old Bush, who will be sworn in at the top of the year, previously ran for a Senate seat in 2016 and 2018. Her Congressional journey was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.

And she's not alone in making political history during this year's election. Aside from Baltimore electing its youngest mayor ever, a record 298 women ran for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of the nearly 300 candidates, 115 identified as Black, Latina, or Native American.

Other pioneering political wins included Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones becoming the first openly gay and openly gay Afro-Latino members of Congress, and Sarah McBride, who became the first trans U.S. Senator.

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Former Minneapolis Officers Who Killed George Floyd Will Be Tried Together, Judge Rules

Four former Minneapolis officers on trial for killing George Floyd, will not be allowed to move the case out of state and will be tried together, a judge ruled on Thursday (Nov. 5).

Attorneys for the officers argued that their safety would be jeopardized and they would not receive a fair trial if the case moved forward in Minneapolis, but Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill rejected the notion citing that all four of the former officers will be tried together to “allow this community, this State, and the nation to absorb the verdicts for the four defendants at once.”

Floyd, 46, was killed in May after being arrested outside of a Minneapolis grocery store over an alleged fraudulent $20 bill. The fatal arrest was captured on cell phone footage and showed former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin with his knee in Floyd’s neck while three other cops held him down.

Chauvin is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, and second-degree murder. Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng are charged with aiding an abetting intentional homicide, and second-degree murder. All four men were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, and are currently free on bail.

In his decision, Judge Cahill ruled that the trial can be televised and live streamed online. He agreed to revisit the idea of moving the trial if necessary but noted, “No corner of the State of Minnesota has been shielded from pretrial publicity regarding the death of George Floyd. Because of that pervasive media coverage, a change of venue is unlikely to cure the taint of potential prejudicial pretrial publicity.”

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