By: Matt Taibbi
On July 7th in Staten Island a few months back, Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the death of Eric Garner, sat in court conferring with his family. He was about to agree to plea deal on drug and weapons charges that would send him to prison for a while.
The term – four years – had already been settled. But some specifics were left up to him. In particular, he was given a choice as to which of his many drug charges he could swallow.
“They're telling me I've got to cop to weed, crack or heroin,” he said. “But since weed isn't a felony, it's got to be crack or heroin.”
The United States is one of just four countries in the world that enforces post-release restrictions on voting. Spencer Platt/Getty