Orta told Motherboard that the night of Garner’s killing, he was woken up by officers shining a flashlight into his bedroom and around his Staten Island home. He said that during one of his arrests, an officer pointed a phone at him and said “You filmed us, so now we’re filming you.” When asked for comment on allegations of retaliation against Orta and Allen via email, NYPD’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner responded “they were arrested based on probable cause and not because they filmed the Eric Garner arrest.” The NYPD did not respond to specific questions about Orta and Allen’s allegations.The bystander videos play an important role in “empowering communities to challenge the police narrative,” according to Arthur Reed, founder of Baton Rouge-based anti-violence group Stop The Killing. Reed explained that the dangerous pattern of retaliation has made witnesses afraid to come forth with videos like these, and that the main goal of these videos is to gain public interest and reclaim their narratives, as they feel targeted by the same system that’s supposed to be prosecuting police officers they film.“Video isn’t going to make us safer, but it will tell our story. If it made us safer you wouldn’t see Eric Garner getting choked to death, you wouldn’t see Walter Scott getting shot down like a dog. But it finally tells the truth of what really happened.” Reed added. “In Walter Scott’s case if he would have seen the person that was filming, I’m sure he would have shot him too.”
"Video isn’t going to make us safer, but it will tell our story. If it made us safer you wouldn’t see Eric Garner getting choked to death, you wouldn’t see Walter Scott getting shot down like a dog. But it finally tells the truth of what really happened"
Initially, Santana decided not to share the video, afraid for his own safety. But after learning that police falsely claimed Scott was shot after he reached for the officer’s Taser, Santana gave the video to Scott’s family. Contrary to the police report, Santana’s video showed Scott never reached for the officer’s Taser. Instead, officer Slager walked over and dropped it next to Scott’s lifeless body after he shot him.“I thought about staying anonymous,” Santana said on the TODAY show days after the shooting. "I thought about erasing the video, just getting out of [Charleston] and living someplace else.”In fall of 2016, after testifying in Slager’s murder trial, Santana did just that. He told the Daily Mail that, after receiving numerous death threats, he decided to move back to the Dominican Republic. In December 2017, Slager was found guilty on federal charges, and was sentenced to 20 years for second-degree murder.Proxies and anonymous disseminationOne tactic for protecting individuals who have filmed police violence is to serve as a proxy, or post the video for someone who is afraid to come forward. Stop The Killing posts videos of police misconduct that he receives from the community. Reed says that he was responsible for posting the first video of Alton Sterling the night of the shooting, which was entrusted to him by witnesses.
"I’m not going to lie and say I never regret filming it"