Man Behind Garner Video Says Cops Used Rat Poison


     (CN) – The man who filmed the police chokehold death of Eric Garner claims in court that the city had him arrested and then dosed with rat poison behind bars.
     Though the complaint Ramsey Orta filed Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court gives little description of the lead-up to his arrest, the 24-year-old Staten Island man has given various accounts to the press this year about being the subject of a campaign of police harassment.
     Orta had been standing near the Staten Island ferry terminal in July 2014 when he saw police confront his friend Garner.
     The video Orta shot of what were Garner’s final moments went viral, fueling the wave of protest against police violence.
     Democracy Now reports that Orta was arrested the day after a medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide.
     He was later arrested and jailed on a drug charge.
     Orta’s lawsuit says he was in the Anna M. Kross Center, a Rikers Island facility, this past March when corrections officers fed him and other inmates rat poison.
     Claiming that the officers put rat poison in the inmates’ food “in retaliation for filming the Eric Garner video,” Orta says he suffered “severe personal injuries.”
     The Daily News reported that 19 Rikers Island inmates brought a lawsuit over the rat poison feeding in March, claiming that they suffered food sickness after they were fed meatloaf while the facility was on lockdown.
     New York City court records show that Orta has four separate criminal cases against him pending.
     The first pertains to May 4, 2014, incident for which he was arrested the same day.
     Staten Island police hauled Orta in again on Aug. 2 for an incident that occurred that day.     
     This past February, Orta was arrested for an incident that occurred on Nov. 18, 2014.
     The sole case outside Manhattan is the most recent. Orta was arrested on June 30, 2015, in connection to an incident that day.
     Orta is scheduled to appear before Judge Rooney in Staten Island Criminal Court on Nov. 4.
     A grand jury ultimately absolved Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer whose chokehold killed Garner of any wrongdoing.
     Last week, a judge ruled that the grand jury’s deliberations would remain secret.
     Orta is represented by Andrew Plasse in Flushing, Queens.

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