Posted for: Layla Godey
By: Prasashan English
New York Democrats are firing at each other after a homeless man who was expressing threatening behavior on the subway system died after being restrained by passengers.
“Jordan Neely was murdered,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted Wednesday. “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,”
New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled Wednesday that Jordan Neely, 30, died from “compression of neck.” The New York City Police Department said Neely was placed in a chokehold by a 24-year-old Marine veteran after he was displaying erratic behavior, acting aggressively and threatening the safety of passengers on the train.
“Black men seem to always be choked to death,” Ocasio-Cortez’s fellow “Squad” member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., said Wednesday. “Jordan Neely did not have to die. It’s as simple as that. Yet we have another Black man publicly executed.”
Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman were joined by New York City Comptroller Brand Lander, who called the Marine veteran responsible for subduing Neely a “vigilante.”
“Jordan Neely was lynched,” tweeted New York State Sen. Jabari Brisport. “He had no food, no water, no safe place to rest. He had the audacity to publicly yell about that massive injustice, so they killed him.”
“It was vigilantism,” he wrote.
“This was a lynching,” another New York State Senator, Julia, Salazar, said.
Meanwhile, the New York Working Families Party argued Neely was “brutally murdered.”
“Jordan Neely loved to dance and perform,” the party said on Twitter. “On Tuesday, while suffering a mental health crisis, he was choked to death while people watched and cheered. Jordan needed care. Instead, he was brutally murdered. This is not who we are as New Yorkers.”
Progressives took aim at the immediate reactions to Neely’s death by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
“People who are homeless in our subways, many of them in the throes of mental health episodes, and that’s what I believe some of the factors involved here,” Hochul told Spectrum News. “There’s consequences for behavior.”
“Any loss of life is tragic,” Adams’ initial statement said. “There’s a lot we don’t know about what happened here, so I’m going to refrain from commenting further.”
“Consequences for whom?” New York City Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán fired back on Twitter. “Executive leadership that time & time again pump more $ into policing & incarceration systems, champion policies that criminalize and cage more people? Who opt for that instead of funding a robust public health infrastructure & continuum of care?”
“NYC’s 2nd Black Mayor just All Lives Mattered the murder of a mentally ill Black man who was killed by a blood thirsty vigilante. Representation though, right?” tweeted New York City Councilman Chi Ossé.
“This is unacceptable,” tweeted the New York City Council Progressive Caucus.
Adams’ office issued a later statement saying the “initial response by our legal team to this killing is disturbing and puts on display for the world the double standards that Black people and other people of color continue to face.”
Adams took aim at Ocasio-Cortez and Lander specifically Wednesday, arguing the New York leaders shouldn’t rush to judgment until police have had an opportunity to complete their investigation.
“I don’t think that’s very responsible at the time where we are still investigating the situation,” Adams said during an interview with CNN.
“Let’s let the DA conduct his investigation with the law enforcement officials. To really interfere with that is not the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m going to be responsible and allow them to do their job and allow them to determine exactly what happened here.”
Meanwhile, protesters have been clashing with police at the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and in the subway station where Neely died after the veteran who restrained him was taken into custody and released.