NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York City man whose cellphone video captured the fatal police chokehold of unarmed black man Eric Garner is suing the city for $10 million over a drug arrest that he says was police retaliation.
Ramsey Orta was arrested last June after authorities say he sold an undercover officer $40 worth of the party drug known as Molly. The charges were later dropped.
Orta’s family had claimed that police were trying to set up Orta. His aunt, Lisa Mercardo, started a GoFundMe page that raised $16,250 needed for Orta to make bail, according to published reports.
In August, Orta’s mother, Emily Mercado, said police have been following her son ever since he recorded Garner’s arrest.
“They’ve been following him,” she said. “They’ve been sitting in front of my house. They put spot lights in my window.”
Ortiz also said police had been harassing him.
“It’s payback for him exposing what they did to Eric Garner and the bad things that they were doing,” she said.
Lawyer Andrew Plasse tells the Daily News Orta feels he was “unjustly singled out for arrest.” The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court claims it was an effort by the NYPD to “discredit” Orta’s video.
The footage showed Garner saying “I can’t breathe” in a confrontation with a white police officer in Staten Island.
The city Law Department says it will review the complaint.
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