Man who took Eric Garner cell phone video arraigned on weapons charge

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Sarah Wallace has the story. (WABC)

Police say a man who shot cell phone video of police holding Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold on Staten Island has been arraigned after he was taken into custody on this weekend on weapons charges.

"They say the gun was found on you," Eyewitness News Investigative reporter Sarah Wallace.

"No, the gun was never found on me, the gun was found on the girl," Ramsey Orta said.

On a speaker phone with his wife Monday afternoon, 22-year-old Ramsey Orta claimed he was set up by a 17-year-old girl Saturday night as the two left the Richmond Hotel in the St. George section of Staten Island Narcotics cops say they saw Orta put an unloaded 25 caliber gun in Alba Lekaj's waistband. Both were arrested on a gun charge. She was released on her own recognizance.

"Are you saying he got your daughter in trouble?" Wallace asked

"Yeah, he not only just have a gun, but he put my daughter in trouble, so it's a very, very bad thing," the teen's mother said.

The girl's mother said Monday it was Orta who had the gun and that he suddenly thrust it on the girl when officers approached.

"She said, 'I was freaking out,' and that 'I wanted to faint,'" her mother said.

Authorities say the weapon recovered was a .25-caliber Norton semi-automatic that was reported stolen in Michigan in 2007. Police seized the gun along with marijuana.

Orta and his family claim the girl had the gun all along and that cops have been gunning for him ever since he took cellphone video of officers arresting 43-year-old Eric Garner, one using an apparent chokehold. On Friday, the Medical Examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide.

"They wanted a reason to arrest him and apprehend him to keep him from continuing exposure to continue to show what, what horrible things that they've been doing to people," said Chrissie Orta, Ramsey Orta's wife.

Orta entered a not guilty plea and is being held on $75,000 bail.

He is due back in court on Friday.

With Orta's arrest comes strong reaction from those with close ties to the Garner case.

"The arrest of Ramsey Orta for Criminal Possession of a Firearm only underscores the dangers that brought police officers to respond to a chronic crime condition in that community," PBA President Patrick Lynch said.

Speaking earlier in the day, the Reverend Al Sharpton called on federal authorities to investigate the Garner case based on Orta's new arrest.

"Now the Staten Island DA may be in a conflict, because he may be prosecuting someone who is a witness in the case," Sharpton said.

Orta's mother told Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson that she has not spoken to her son about his arrest.

At the Richmond Hotel, resident Richard Harris believes that Orta's arrest doesn't really matter.

"Now that he is in custody, it's a bad look, but it doesn't exempt the fact that video and pictures don't lie," said Harris.

NOTE: Due to copyright restrictions, we cannot show cell phone video from the Daily News.
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