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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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Disturbing Footage From Aftermath Of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Released

Travis McMichael , the man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery can be seen drenched in blood as he speaks with authorities in new body camera video obtained by the Glynn County police.

The footage, first reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Monday (Dec. 14), shows Travis McMichael recounting the deadly incident with authorities. His hands and forearms are covered in Arbery’s blood.

One police officer at the scene attempts to calm Travis McMichael before gently asking him if there’s anyone that he wants them to call on his behalf. She goes on to explain that he has to go to the police station as a formality, and asks if he sustained any injuries.

Travis McMichael paces around with his hands in his pockets, at times wiping blood of his arms and face, while blaming Arbery for his own murder. Arbery’s body lay on the ground and he was still breathing at one point in the video, according to USA Today.

While authorities investigate the shooting, Travis McMichael appears agitated and tells an officer, “I want it [the investigation] done right, because this doesn’t look good. I mean, I just shot a man. Last thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog before being chased in a pick-up truck, cornered and gunned down by Travis McMichael with his father, Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit D.A.’s office, by his side. Despite having no proof, father and son claim that they thought Arbery had been burglarizing the neighborhood.

Greg McMichael reportedly backed up his son’s account to police stating that his son “had no choice” but to kill Arbery. At least one  officer at the crime scene was familiar with Greg McMichael from his years in law enforcement and recent retirement.

In an additional recording, Greg McMichael says that he would have “shot him myself” and continues accusing Arbery of being the aggressor. “The guy turns and comes at him [Travis], and they start wrestling and Travis shoots him right in the damn chest,” he tells police. “The guy was trying to take the shotgun away from him [Travis].”

A third man, neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan filmed the incident on his cell phone and was later arrested for murder along with the McMichaels. Bryan has since questioned if they should have been following Arbery in the first place.

All three men remain jailed as they await trial on murder charges.

Click here to watch the body cam footage, but please be warned that the video is explicit.

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Bowie State And More HBCUs Receive Record-Breaking Donations From Billionaire

MacKenzie Scott is back at it! The billionaire venture philanthropist, novelist, and ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, has donated tens of millions of dollars to several HBCUs in the last few days.

The week's isn't over yet, but so far, Scott has donated well over $100 million to historically Black colleges including Tougaloo College, which received $6 million on Wednesday (Dec. 16).

A day earlier, Scott gave a record $40 million each to Morgan State and Norfolk University, $25 million to Alcorn State University and Bowie State, $20 million to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore , and $15 million to Elizabeth City University.

Morgan State's $40 million gift is the largest single-party donation in the HBCU’s history, and the second-largest donation to a public Maryland university. 

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” Morgan State President David Wilson said in a statement. “I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgement of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come.”

A majority of the donated funds will go to Morgan State’s newly established endowment fund. The remainder of the money will be used to continue the university’s efforts “essential to student success,” as well as advancing research and enhancing investments in other “mission-focused priorities and initiatives.”

Scott also donated millions to Howard University, Clark Atlanta and Delaware State University.

Her latest HBCU donation spree is a small portion of the $4 billion that she has given away over the last four months. The multi-billion dollar charitable windfall has been dispersed to 384 organizations and educational institutions in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

And she’s still not done.

“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities, and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic,” Scott wrote in a post on Medium.com. “Witnessing the determination, creativity, and compassion of people in a crisis has been inspiring.”

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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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