The man who captured the fatal arrest of Eric Garner on his cellphone is facing weapons charges after police on Staten Island say he was caught with an unloaded firearm over the weekend.
The NYPD says its narcotics officers were conducting enforcement Saturday night outside the Richmond Hotel in St. George when they spotted Ramsey Orta, 22, placing the .25 caliber handgun in the waistband of a 17-year-old girl.
Both were later charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
Orta has a prior conviction for carrying a loaded weapon.
His wife, who did not want her name revealed, disputed her husband's arrest and claims it was a setup.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who called Orta to the pulpit during Eric Garner's funeral, says regardless of what happened, Orta's arrest adds fuel to his drive for federal authorities to take the investigation into Garner's death.
Orta used his cellphone to record Garner's arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes last month. The video shows one officer putting Garner in an alleged chokehold banned by the department.
Garner died and the medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide, saying it was caused by neck and chest compression and his positioning during physical restraint by police.
One officer is on modified duty while internal affairs and the Staten Island district attorney investigate.
"Let the federal government handle it so there's no question about the objectivity of the investigation," Sharpton said.
Sharpton has been calling for a federal civil rights investigation and says Orta's arrest Saturday will mean the DA may have to consider Orta as a witness in Garner's death and a defendant as a result of the weapons charge.
Sharpton also pointed out Orta's role as a witness might just be to enter the tape which he says speaks for itself.
After his arrest Orta was taken to the hospital.
His wife says he suffered a panic attack.