Ramsey Orta was denied early release this week, meaning he will likely be released in mid 2020. We had hoped for better, but this decision was consistent with a long and predictably cruel pattern of abuse that has followed Ramsey ever since he began serving his four year sentence in the fall of 2016.
What world do we live in when a cop can kill a man on video, and 5 years later he walks free, while the person who showed you what happened, sits in a prison cell?
What kind of world do we live in where our heroes are abused, and our abusers are treated like heroes?
Ramsey has been moved to 8 or 9 facilities and been placed in solitary confinement at least five times. Daniel Pantaleo has remained with NYPD until recently, and this week has raked in over 100k in donations.
Ramsey should be free, and Pantaleo should be held accountable to the people whose lives he has destroyed. But let’s not expect justice from the very system that has the public accepting job terminations for a murderer. Let’s not expect that Ramsey will not endure more abuse before he is released. We live in a world that is broken for some, but running real smooth for others. We don’t have faith in this system correcting itself. But we do have faith in you collectively determining when you have had enough.
We don’t have a choice but to continue moving forward, and in that spirit we want to thank you all and encourage you not to give up. We made the call and you answered. Many of you have been directly effected by these very issues. The frontline is everywhere, and there are many Eric Garner and Ramsey Ortas out there. So we humbly thank you for taking time to support Ramsey and helping highlight the injustice he has faced.
As we prepare for Ramsey’s final year in state prison we have several things we are working towards and if you or folks you know are down to support, please contact us. OfficialRamseyOrta@gmail.com
1. We ask that you continue to share and amplify Ramey’s message. We need to keep Ramsey safe, and while we have stronger legal support than we did three years ago, you have helped get the word out about what Ramsey is facing inside jail, and that helps keep Ramsey safe.
A man was murdered, a police officer got away with it, and we still have a man down. It’s frustrating to see so many people and groups not using their positions of power to help Free Ramsey Orta. Let’s not let people talk about Eric Garner and Officer Pantaleo anymore without speaking about Ramsey Orta. Ramsey may not be perfect, but he is paying the ultimate price for having more courage and dignity than most people we know.
2. Ramsey needs human contact. Most of Ramsey’s PayPal donations are used to keep Ramsey in touch with his community. He needs to be visited, and he needs to be able to make phone calls. Ramsey’s fiancé Deja visits him once a month. These visits keep Ramsey strong, and they keep us informed with Ramsey’s needs so that his lawyers, his support team, and the public are all on the same page.
We will be posting monthly should funds be low, but you can always support Ramsey through donating to his PayPal . OfficialRamseyOrta@gmail.com
3.The Ramsey Welcome home Fund.
We need to make Ramsey whole. He deserves far more, and has lost everything standing on his principles, and while this fund will not give back the years taken from him, it will ensure that Ramsey comes home to both a supporting community, and some financial security.
This week media across the country took a moment to speculate on whether departmental policies were violated in the August 2014 police chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island. A non-criminal departmental trial for Officer Daniel Pantaleo underscores both the power and limitations of using video as evidence.
We know Eric was killed because Ramsey filmed it. These images were broadcasted to the world galvanizing a movement against police abuse and white supremacy. But regardless of the video, nearly 5 years later there have been no criminal charges against Pantaleo, rather a highly publicized kangaroo court of sorts to determine something that we already know. Pantaleo killed Eric Garner using a chokehold against departmental policy. We do not find it a coincidence that Ramsey was thrown back into the Box this week following his testimony against Daniel Pantaleo via video from Groveland Correctional facility in upstate New York where he is currently incarcerated.
In March of this year, Ramsey wrote a letter articulating that several officers had been threatening to set him up. Since that letter, Ramsey has been ticketed, given loss of privileges, and held in confinement following a visit. Ramsey being put into the Box is in retaliation for him testifying against Pantaleo, but it is also part of a bigger, methodical cycle of harassment and abuse that has rotated Ramsey in and out of solitary confinement 4 times, and moved him through 11 New York State correctional facilities during these past couple years.
This abuse is articulated exstensively in Chloé Cooper Jone’s article Fearing For His Life, but we wanted to show an abridged timeline of these events to help you visualize what Ramsey is dealing with.
October 2016, Ramsey is put in Otis Bantum Correctional Center and processed. By Late October Ramsey is transferred temporarily to Down State and by November he is moved over to Fishkill Correctional. There he is approached by correctional officers asking is he is the one who filmed Eric Garner. In Fishkill Ramsey cut by an inmate and by January 2017, he is transferred to Franklin Correctional Facility in upstate by the Canadian border. At this point, Ramsey has begun to accumulate tickets, which lead to loss of privileges, and in March of 2017 Ramsey is put in the Box for the first time. In October of 2017, Ramsey is attacked by a correctional officer and thrown in the Box again. Ramsey if eventually moved to Gouverneur Correctional Facility where in January of 2018, he is thrown in the box again for 60 days. By February, Ramsey is moved to Altona and by August, is put back into solitary confinement for 90 days and shipped to Upstate Correctional Facility. Somewhere in this ordeal Ramsey is sent back down to Fishkill and transferred back upstate to Groveland Correctional Facility where he resides today.
Ramsey has been dragged through the mud, only to be dragged through the mud some more. In the coming days, we will be finding out more about Ramsey’s situation and how long he will be in solitary. For the moment we ask that you keep Ramsey in your thoughts.
Ramsey Orta 16A4200
Collins Correctional Facility
Middle Road p.o box 340
Collins ny 14034
Be sure to put your name and address on envelope or letter will be returned..
You can donate to his commissary using PayPal with OfficialRamseyOrta@gmail.com.
Wanna support Ramsey with his upcoming Parole Hearing? Now you can send a letter of support with just the push of a button!
Ramsey has a Parole Hearing in August and we are trying to get 1000 letters of support. If you wanna help. Feel free to fill out the Letter Form below.
You can start with “To whom this may concern” and can include any of the following. All we ask is that you speak from your heart. And please write a paragraph or two. Thank you.
1. You can mention how Ramsey has influenced you. 2. If you have been in touch with Ramsey, speak about Ramsey as a friend. 3. Talk about why you think Ramsey should be free. 4. Ramsey will be working with WeCopwatch on Know Your Rights Trainings and our miniseries as a job when he is released. 5. If you want to hold an event or training with Ramsey you can mention that as well.
Ramsey has a parole board in August. If things go well, Ramsey may be eligible for release this December!
Over the next month, we will be calling on people for support in two areas. We need your help to make this happen.
1. We at WeCopwatch are working to get Ramsey a welcome home fund so that there is some employment money in the bank prior to his release. Ramsey will be helping teach Copwatch College and be working on video projects.
2. We are also asking for letters of support. If you have been corresponding with Ramsey a letter would be great. Also if you want to have an event, speaking engagement, or training with Ramsey then a letter specifying that would also be helpful.
Ramsey Orta 16A4200
Collins Correctional Facility
Middle Road p.o box 340
Collins NY 14034
Be sure to put your name and address on envelope or letter will be returned..
You can send donations to his PayPal using OfficialRamseyOrta@gmail.com. However, if you know foundations or folks that have bigger money, we are going to be launching a fundraiser in the coming weeks.
This could be the final stretch for Ramsey. We look forward to him being home, getting to work, and taking some time to connect with the people who have supported him over these past few years.
WeCopwatch is putting an official call out for legal representation in a civil case against Darren Wilson.
The world knows about Darren Wilson because he murdered Mike Brown on August 9th, 2014 in Ferguson Missouri. Darren Wilson murdered Mike because in his own words he knew he could without legal repercussions.
As we know, Police officers are efficiently trained in how to kill, and what type of murders they can get away with. Generally speaking, if you are a black man in AmeriKKKa, police know that they can not only murder you, but they will get a free paid vacation, and likely a promotion.
Like so many others, in the case of Darren Wilson, there were already red flags in his past. Red flags that if his supervisors in the Ferguson Police Department had disciplined rather than embrace, the murder of Mike Brown may have never happened.
One red flag that comes to mind is the videotaped arrest of Mike Arman on October 28, 2013. Standing on his own property, Mike was approached by Darren Wilson regarding alleged potential municipal violations. The type of municipal violations that local police used to prey on Ferguson residents in a ticket for-profit model that was exposed in the months following Mike Brown’s murder.
This videotaped arrest, along with discrepancies in Wilson’s report, were enough in 2013 to show that Darren Wilson was not only a liability to his department, but a danger to the public.
We are looking for legal representation for Mike in a civil case against Darren Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department. The statute of limitations is coming up with October, so we need to move fast. All inquiries can contact us at WeCopwatch@protonmail.com.
Three years ago we were on the ground in Baltimore supporting the people of West Baltimore as their neighborhood was invaded by hundreds of law enforcement officers and national guard. We had been in contact with Kevin Moore who on April 12, 2015, filmed the brutal arrest of his friend Freddie Gray. Freddie would die a week later in police custody setting off street rebellions that would last for days.
Kevin told us over the phone that he was being targeted by police for releasing the video, and he was worried for his safety. We had a Copwatcher from Ferguson on the ground out there, and we had him bring Kevin to a Best Buy to purchase cameras. Within an hour, Kevin and our Copwatcher would be chased down by SWAT Officers leaving a protest and arrested at gunpoint. We told the arresting officers who had confiscated our Copwatcher’s cellphone that they had made a mistake, and that WeCopwatch would be on the next flight out to Baltimore. We kept our promise.
We flew out to Baltimore that next day to deal with the legal charges, and began the process of getting our Copwatchers out of jail. Once we were out in the streets we began Copwatching. The community, vindicated by Freddie’s video were very appreciative of WeCopwatch, and welcomed us with open arms. The police were not thrilled, however our group was constantly surrounded by main stream media giving us the ability to move freely, even after curfew was implemented.
Baltimore Rising: WeCopwatch Baltimore is Here
Kevin Moore’s video and subsequent arrest had made international news, and we founds our days there being followed by hungry reporters and undercover police.
CNN was a funny one for WeCopwatch. Eager to capitalize on WeCopwatch, but confused about their angle, came to the conclusion that it would be best to produced two pieces on us. One positive, and one negative.
CNN Positive: Man behind Freddie Gray Video Speaks Out
CNN Negative: What It’s Like to Protest for a Living
Baltimore Sun Documentary
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/83897043-132.html New York Times Documentary: Copwatch Vs. The Police
This type of attention was fairly new to our our organization and we learned a lot on how TOO, and how NOT to deal with the media. These experiences also underscored our position that people engaged in struggle need to be their own media so that they can control their narrative. It was our initial inspiration to produce our documentary Copwatch which is now available on Amazon Video.
Kevin Moore on Democracy Now
As typical with our organization, we spent two years supporting Copwatchers and residents of Baltimore through training, distribution of resources, and legal support. In the end, we watched charged dropped against the 6 officers indicted, and today sadly, not much has changed regarding the police in Baltimore. They are viewed as a brutal occupying army. Drug dealing and street robberies are so prevalent within the force that drug dealers caught with guns or drugs are routinely beat, robbed, and then released on the spot.
One positive thing that we see today in Baltimore is the continued powerful resistance in the streets. Against all odds, the community refuses to go down without a fight. And one thing is for sure. People from all demographics pull out their cellphone cameras when the police come into their community.
Copwatching is tough in Baltimore. WeCopwatch was heavy surveilled during our work in Baltimore to the point that our photos were at the security gate in every courthouse in Baltimore. but we know the work is invaluable.
As with the case of Freddie Gray, we know that video evidence can lead to police arrests, but ultimately we can not rely on the very system that protects police violence, to hold them accountable. But we continue to struggle, knowing that cameras and caring people have the power to save lives. We see Baltimore continues to resist, and we support them in their journey.
From behind bars, Ramsey Orta continues to stand strong. For those who do not know, over the past couple months, the ongoing harassment of Ramsey from corrections officers escalated, resulting in Ramsey being placed in solitary confinement.
Ramsey was pulled out of Franklin Corrections and transferred to Gouverneur Correctional Facility to serve out his solitary confinement, and was ultimately transferred to Alton Correctional Facility where he resides today. All these facilities rest on the New York/Canadian border, intentionally placing Ramsey as far away from his support network as possible. We visited Ramsey last month as he prepared to leave solitary and under the circumstances, Ramsey was in good spirits. Over the past few months, Ramsey has been working on a graphic novel.
4 Years is a Long Time
Ramsey was having issues with correctional officers off the bat, and for the first 6 months of his incarceration, Ramsey was moved around to varies facilities, eventually landing in Upstate New York at Franklin Correctional Facility. The first year wasn’t easy supporting Ramsey either. It particularly difficult finding a lawyer who could assist Ramsey with his day to day issues and needs… Feeling helpless, we encouraged Ramsey to make the best use of this time, regardless of the obstacles. We explored different mediums available to him to express himself, whether it be writing, or illustrating, or even recording audio segments over the phone.
We held strong and are happy to report that we are entering 2018 with not only legal support but an incredible support network. With the help of one generous donor, Ramsey received a typewriter this past fall and has been busy ever since. WeCopwatch connected Ramsey with graphic illustrator Jonathan Burkhart, and many visits and 50 hours of interviews later, we are beginning to see the fruits of their labor.
A Graphic Novel
Of all of the people involved in Garner’s murder, the only person currently serving a prison sentence is Ramsey.
Though his story has been told in pieces elsewhere, he has never before spoken publicly at such length and depth about what happened to him following the release of the Garner footage.
The struggles he encountered–with the public, the press, the activist community and most of all with the police–represent an important and not-often-told portion of the ongoing fight against police intimidation and brutality.
What can happen to someone who stands up to the police? How do the police exact revenge against those that expose them? What was it about Ramsey that gave him the will to film the police? (This was, in fact, not the only video he released of police brutality. ) These are questions that the graphic novel hopes to answer. -From The Official Gofundme for this Project
About the Art
Stylistically the art will draw heavily from expressionist movies and woodcuts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and from expressionism’s mid-twentieth century cousin, film noir. To achieve this feel all images will be drawn mainly using either white ink on black paper or with scratchboard.
All backgrounds, landscapes, and street shots are “on location”–which is to say they are drawn from references of the actual areas where they take place. In many cases, reference images were shot with a Metro PCS Galaxy Exhibit–the same type of phone which Ramsey used to capture Eric Garner’s death. Many of the faces which appear in the graphic novel were also inspired by the myriad personalities that populate the Tomkinsville neighborhood in Staten Island. -From The Official Gofundme for this Project
Where photographic reference was not available, locations were recreated in detail by Ramsey. For example, a good portion of the story’s events take place in Ramsey’s apartment on Van Duzer St, in Staten Island. Since the time of the story he and his family have moved out of the apartment, so there is no longer access. RAMSEY, who at one point in time planned to become an architect and studied perspective and blueprinting while at technical high school in his teens, created very detailed floor plans of this location which were used extensively in the recreation of the scenes. He also drew extensive schematics of where the cops would place themselves in his neighborhood. -From The Official Gofundme for this Project
We want to thank everyone who has been writing, donating, and sending care packages. This has been really challenging, but you have helped build a support network that impacts Ramsey.
We encourage all that have been supporting, to spread this gofundme and help make this graphic novel become a reality. And as always send letters and packages to
Inmate Mailing Address:
Ramsey Orta 16A4200
Collins Correctional Middle Rd
P.o box 340
Collins, NY 14034
He can get books magazines, regular mail, and money orders.
For phone calls, you must call Securis Mobile @ 1800-844-6591 to create a plan. You can also donate directly to Ramsey using his Paypal email@example.com
If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org