New York City police have arrested the wife of a man who filmed their fatal encounter with a father of six accused of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Eric Garner died after police placed him in a chokehold and pinned him to the ground while he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. On Friday, the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. A day later, police arrested Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Garner’s arrest, on a weapons charge. On Tuesday, Orta’s wife was arrested and accused of assault. Chrissie Ortiz told WPIX Channel 11 police have been harassing her and her husband.
Chrissie Ortiz: “Four o’clock in the morning, we’re laying down, and my whole room lights up. And I’m like, 'What is that?' And we look out the window. It’s a police car. They’re driving by and put the spotlight into my window. What was that for?”
The head of the New York City police union, Patrick Lynch, defended the officers involved in Garner’s death, denying they used a chokehold, which has been banned by the NYPD for decades.
Patrick Lynch: “It was not a chokehold. He was a big man that had to be brought to the ground to be placed under arrest by shorter police officers.” [Related: Watch this Democracy Now! segment about the Garner case and citizen’s right to film police.]