Wife of man who filmed NYPD choke hold is charged with assault

NEW YORK Wed Aug 6, 2014 2:57pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police have arrested the wife of a New York City man who filmed an officer using a choke hold on a suspect who later died, authorities said on Wednesday, charging her with misdemeanor assault days after her husband was detained on unrelated gun charges.

The woman, Chrissie Ortiz, 30, has been a vocal critic of the police following the arrest on Saturday of her 22-year-old husband, Ramsey Orta, on weapons possession charges.

She has claimed that police arrested Orta because of the July 17 cellphone video he shot during the arrest of Eric Garner, who was placed in a choke hold by a police officer while being detained for allegedly peddling illegal cigarettes.

Footage of the incident circulated widely on the Internet, triggering outrage and raising questions about police tactics and use of force.

The New York City medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide caused by a choke hold.

The choke hold is banned by the NYPD, which is investigating the incident. Police Commissioner William Bratton said the arresting officer appeared to have used a choke hold.

Ortiz was charged with beating a woman following an argument outside a Staten Island grocery store on Tuesday. The altercation left the victim with bruises and swelling on her face and body, the New York Police Department said.

Bystanders had to pull Ortiz off the woman, police added, before she fled the scene.

Ortiz was arrested and then released with a ticket to return to court, police said.

Orta, who has a past criminal conviction, was detained by police after being spotted outside a known drug den sliding a handgun into a female companion's waistband on Saturday, police said.

During his arrest, Orta told officers, "You're just mad because I filmed your boy," an NYPD spokeswoman said.

On Tuesday, the president of the city's police's union denied that officers used a choke hold on Garner, saying the maneuver was merely a way for the officers to arrest the 350-pound suspect.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Jim Loney)

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