According to The New York Daily News, Orta, 26, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against New York City under the claim that he was falsely arrested in 2015 as revenge for capturing the footage. Orta was detained by the NYPD for drug possession, but the charges were dropped after a seven-day stint in jail.
He says the city ran a “smear” campaign in an effort to “discredit” him because of the video footage. “They just pile them on and on, they’re just relentless,” his lawyer, Andrew Plasse, told DNAinfo. “They just smear him, they malign him.”
Plasse believes the city’s police force targeted his client for shining “a light on the true nature of the culture of violence that is permitted in the NYPD.” Orta’s supporters have rallied in his defense at his numerous court appearances; they too believe he’s a scapegoat.
After Garner’s arrest and subsequent death, Orta has faced several arrests, The Daily News reports. “Twenty six felonies on Staten Island! If he were sentenced on all of them, he’d do more time than (Son of Sam serial killer) David Berkowitz,” Plasse told The Daily News; 25 of the felonies were tossed, he said.
A month after Garner’s death, Orta was arrested for handing a 17-year-old girl a gun after the couple left a Staten Island hotel. Then again in 2015, along with his mother and brother, for selling crack, heroin, Oxycodone, Alprazolam, and marijuana in a city park directly across the street from where Garner died. Lastly, he was arrested twice in 2016 – once in February over a domestic violence dispute with his wife, and again in March for standing too close to a traffic stop while filming it.
He’s currently facing a four-year stint in jail for the gun and drug charge, The News reports. Sentencing is scheduled for October 3.
In an interview with Democracy Now!, Orta said he fears for his life and during his jail time at Rikers Island, he stopped eating food for fear of being poisoned.
“I’ve just been harassed, I’ve been almost killed on Rikers Island,” Orta said.
Orta and his wife reside in Las Vegas, and are awaiting his sentencing date.