Ramsey Orta’s life has been turned upside down since he recorded the untimely death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD. Over a year after Garner’s last words “I Can’t Breathe” began to echo in Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country, Orta’s criminal record has grown significantly and his family believes it’s because of the NYPD’s personal vendetta against him.
Days after making the 24-year-old a wanted man, Orta was arrested over the weekend for reportedly threatening to kill his wife, Jessica. Although Orta’s extensive rap sheet would easily allow authorities to assume he’s guilty, Jessica recently issued her own public statement, in a now-private YouTube video, during which she claims the incident was exaggerated by the NYPD.
“Everybody knows that Ramsey and I had somewhat of a whirlwind romance and we got married very quickly. And any relationship that happened like that there are bound to be issues,” she said. “However, it has gotten to the point where NYPD has escalated it past any reasonable level…. [Ramsey’s] been under extreme attack by NYPD and he’s been harassed in various forms and that hasn’t stopped.”
According to the Gothamist, NYPD got a call about a domestic disturbance at the Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side. Jessica was gathering her things to leave the residence when Orta erupted in anger. He threw her bag on the floor and items spilled everywhere, including an empty shampoo bottle that hit Jessica’s 2-year-old son on the forehead. That’s when Orta grabbed a knife and threatened to kill her.
Orta allegedly began to stab and destroy a banner in the bedroom, then allegedly choked his wife. The complaint also said he wouldn’t let Jessica leave the apartment until she went to an ATM and took out money that he had allegedly lent her for parking tickets.
Not long after Orta was apprehended last Friday (Feb. 19), Jessica launched an online crowdfunding effort to help, which was suspended after it surpassed her $2,400 goal. According to court records, Orta was arraigned on Saturday and charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing, attempted robbery, acting in a manor injurious to a child under 17, and criminal obstruction of breathing.
This is Ramsey’s fourth arrest since he was the only witness criminally charged after the death of Eric Garner. In August 2014, he was arrested for possession of a firearm. Then, he allegedly sold drugs to undercover cops in February 2015. Afterwards, he spent two months on Rikers Island. Even though his family raised $16,250 for bail, the NYPD made attempts to block his release. Months later in June 2015, Orta was accused of selling MDMA to an undercover cop.
Orta is currently being held on $10,000 bail, and is scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury on Feb. 25.