LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens — The man who recorded video of Eric Garner’s 2014 Staten Island arrest that led to his death has been released from prison, PIX11 confirmed Monday.
Ramsey Orta, 28, was sentenced to four years in prison back in October 2016 on weapons and drug charges. He was released on May 28 from Queensboro Correctional Facility, as the Department of Corrections continues to release individuals in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a DOC official said.
Orta will be eligible for post-release supervision in July, the official said.
The department has transitioned nearly 900 inmates from custody into the community in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
All those eligible are within 90 days of release; were not convicted of certain violent felonies, sex charges or other similar charges; do not pose a threat to the public; and have available adequate housing, they said.
Garner was arrested back in 2014, accused of selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. He died in police custody while being held in an illegal chokehold. His last words, “I can’t breathe,” heard in Orta’s video, became a rallying cry for those speaking out against police brutality.
George Floyd, a Black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis in May, could he heard on video saying the same phrase, reigniting calls to end police brutality.
The date of Eric Garner’s arrest and death were corrected.