Ramsey Orta, the Man Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Last Words, Arrested Over Domestic Dispute

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More than a year ago, Ramsey Orta filmed the last words that Eric Garner would ever say. As a police officer placed Garner in a chokehold, he said “I can’t breathe” – words that have become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. Last week, Orta was once again in the news for a domestic dispute.

On Friday, he was arrested for threatening his wife, Jessica Orta, with a knife. But Jessica, who set up a crowdfunding campaign (that’s no longer live) to raise money for his bail, has denied that the incident went that far. According to Gothamist, Jessica said that this is just the NYPD’s continuing harassment of Orta.

“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 in a video. “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.”

The NYPD’s official account is that they received a call about a domestic dispute on February 13. Jessica was reportedly packing her things to leave, but he tossed everything around the room. An empty shampoo bottle hit Jessica’s 2-year-old son in the forehead. He then allegedly grabbed a knife and threatened to kill her.

Since filming Garner, Ramsey has been arrested four times. In August 2014, it was for a possession of a firearm. In February 2015, he allegedly sold drugs to undercover cops. He spent two months at Rikers, and though his family raised $16,250 for bail, the NYPD tried to block his release. The third time he was arrested was in June 2015 when he supposedly sold MDMA to an undercover cop.

Last year, Ramsey told Time that his life has been so upended that he wished he hadn’t filmed Garner’s death. “Sometimes I regret just not minding my business,” he said. “Because it just put me in a messed-up predicament.”