Posted For: Suri
The death of a homeless Black subway rider who was placed in a chokehold by a 24-year-old former US Marine in New York City on Monday was ruled a homicide, the city’s medical examiner confirmed on Wednesday evening.
The man who died, Jordan Neely, was homeless and had been screaming at passengers when another rider, the ex-marine, wrapped his arms around Neely’s neck and head and held him for several minutes until he went limp.
Media reports say that Neely died from compression to his neck as a result of the chokehold, as confirmed by Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.
“As part of our rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the Medical Examiner’s report, assess all available video and photo footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and obtain additional medical records,” the district attorney’s spokesman said in a statement, as reported by media.
Neely, a 30-year-old unhoused man, had at one time earned a living in the city as a skilled Michael Jackson impersonator who performed in Times Square.
The man reportedly had a documented history of mental health issues and had been arrested in the past for several offenses including assault and disorderly conduct, as per police officials.
Juan Alberto Vazquez, the reporter who captured the incident, told the New York Post that Neely was screaming “in an aggressive manner” and complained of hunger and thirst but had not physically attacked anyone.
Vazquez said the 24-year-old rider on the subway had approached Neely after he threw his jacket to the ground. When the video starts, Neely is seen on the subway car’s floor, with the man’s left arm around his neck. A second man then holds his arms and a third holds down his shoulder. After briefly trying to free himself, Neely eventually goes limp.
The Guardian said “…Neely’s death, and the response to it, threatens to become a flash-point highlighting what some say is a semi-sanctioned vigilante response to homelessness and the mental health crisis, with others defending the actions of the Marine who had asked fellow passengers to call 911.”
Rest In Peace, Jordan Neely. pic.twitter.com/sZ25wovedU
— Marxist777 (@Marxist777) May 3, 2023
Neely’s death highlights how people respond to the actions of the “poor, the unhoused and most especially those perceived as suffering from mental illness,” Christopher Fee, an English professor at Gettysburg College who teaches about homelessness, said to The New York Times. “Those bystanders may have felt threatened by the victim, but they were not in fact attacked by him. Still, they watched him die,” Fee added.
Meanwhile, Neely’s father, Andre Zachery, told Daily News that Neely’s mother Christie was reportedly killed by her boyfriend. “His mom died — she got killed too. And now him?! She got killed [by] her boyfriend. And now him? By somebody else? I don’t know what to say,” Zachery said.
Christie Neely, 36, was discovered stuffed dead in a suitcase on the side of a highway in the Bronx in 2007, as per the Daily News. The report also quotes Neely’s aunt Carolyn who describes how the death of her sister impacted her nephew “It had a big impact on him. He developed depression and it grew and became more serious. He was schizophrenic, PTSD. Doctors knew his condition and he needed to be treated for that,” Carolyn Neely said.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted saying “Neely was murdered”. She further wrote: “But bc Jordan was houseless and crying for food in a time when the city is raising rents and stripping services to militarize itself while many in power demonize the poor, the murderer gets protected w/ passive headlines + no charges.”
Jordan Neely was murdered.
But bc Jordan was houseless and crying for food in a time when the city is raising rents and stripping services to militarize itself while many in power demonize the poor, the murderer gets protected w/ passive headlines + no charges.
It’s disgusting. https://t.co/YJeQp9bbgE
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 3, 2023
Here are more reactions from public officials and netizens on Neely’s death:
This is Jordan Neely.
He used to dance/impersonate Michael Jackson in the subway to entertain passengers.
On Monday, he was strangled by another passenger. Neely was acting erratically and a 24-year-old white man decided to kill him.
That man has been released without charges. pic.twitter.com/3KFI8dx2pe
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) May 3, 2023
NYC: A homeless black man Jordan Neely,30. Was screaming that he was hungry,had no food,threw his jacket down on the train. The blonde guy decided to choke him for 15 mins-for no reason,EMS could not revive Neely. No charges have been filed. This is MURDER . pic.twitter.com/hWA9Kri7Fl
— نصر الله (@DrNasrAzUllah) May 3, 2023