(Reuters) - A man who filmed a New York City police officer use a choke hold on a suspect who later died has been arrested on weapons charges, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.
Ramsey Orta, 22, and a 17-year-old female were spotted on Saturday outside a known drug location on Staten Island by narcotics officers who saw Orta put a handgun in his companion’s waistband, the New York Police Department said.
Orta, who has a previous criminal conviction, faces two charges of criminal possession of a weapon.
At some point during his arrest, Orta told officers, “You’re just mad because I filmed your boy,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The comment was apparently in reference to the July 17 cellphone video shot by Orta during the arrest of Eric Garner, who was placed in a choke hold by a police officer while being detained for peddling illegal cigarettes.
Garner later died, and the New York City medical examiner ruled the his death a homicide.
Footage of the incident circulated widely on the Internet, triggering outrage and raising questions about police tactics and use of force.
The choke hold is banned by the NYPD, which says it is investigating why the maneuver was used.
Police did not immediately comment on Orta’s assertion that he was arrested as retribution for taking the video.
The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest union representing NYPD officers, said in a statement that it was “criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.”
“Sadly, in the effort to keep neighborhoods like Tompkinsville safe, a tragedy occurred. But that doesn’t change the fact that police officers routinely risk their lives for the benefit of the community,” the statement said.
Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Sandra Maler