NYPD watchdog opens probe into arrest of photographer during Jordan Neely protest
NYC’s police watchdog opened a probe into the arrest of a photojournalist during a Jordan Neely protest earlier this week after receiving multiple complaints about the NYPD’s behavior.
Civilian Complaint Review Board Chair Arva Rice said Wednesday that the agency received the complaints after more than ten demonstrators, including credentialed photographer Stephanie Keith, were hauled away in cuffs during Monday’s demonstration.
“Unfortunately, we have already received several complaints regarding NYPD intervention during these protests, including the arrest of a credentialed photojournalist,” Rice said at the CCRB’s monthly meeting.
“The CCRB is here to protect New Yorkers’ right to peacefully protest and will work to hold officers who violated that right accountable.”
Chaos erupted outside the Broadway-Lafayette station Monday night as cops descended on demonstrators protesting over the chokehold death of Neely.
Video from the scene shows Keith walking with another photographer while high-ranking cops yell, “Get on the sidewalk!”
Moments later, Chief of Patrol John Chell grabs Keith’s arm and demands two NYPD community affairs officers to “lock her up.”
Another photographer nearby is grabbed but not arrested.
“I was trying to photograph and literally the next second I was grabbed,” Keith told The Post.
“It was completely traumatic,” she recalled of the arrest.
“My wrists are still bruised and my thumbs have no feeling in them. They really messed up my hands, which is terrible because I’m a photographer,” she said, breaking down in tears.
When the two officers grabbed Keith, she replied: “I’m press, I’m press. I’m a journalist. I’m press,” she said.
“And they said, ‘No you’re not, you’re arrested.’”
NYC subway choking victim Jordan Neely: What we know
When: May 1, 2023
Who: Jordan Neely, 30, a homeless man was fatally strangled aboard a northbound F train just before
2:30 p.m., according to police.
He reportedly started acting erratically on the train and harassing other passengers before being
restrained and ultimately choked by a straphanger, identified as a 24-year-old marine from Queens.
The marine, who was seen on video applying the chokehold, was taken into custody and later released
but the DA is mulling charges, which could include involuntary manslaughter, according to experts.
Fallout: The city medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide, noting he died due to “compression
of neck (chokehold).” This will be weighed during the investigation into whether charges will be brought
for Neely’s death.
Neely’s aunt told The Post that he became a “complete mess” following the brutal murder of his mother
in 2007. She noted he was schizophrenic while suffering from PTSD and depression.
“The whole system just failed him. He fell through the cracks of the system,” Carolyn Neely said.
Law enforcement sources said Neely had “numerous” arrests on his record, including for drugs,
disorderly conduct, and fare beating.
At the time of his death, Neely had a warrant out for his arrest for a November 2021 case where he was
accused of assaulting a 67-year-old woman in the East Village, the sources said.
Mayor Eric Adams has said it’s important for the DA to complete the investigation into Neely’s death and
not rush to conclusions.
The award-winning photographer, whose images have appeared in The New York Times and Reuters, was charged with disorderly conduct.
At a press briefing Monday night, Chell claimed the shutterbug interfered in three arrests.
“I absolutely was not interfering with their arrests,” Keith said.
“If you look at the video, I don’t know what they’re talking about. The press photographers always maintain a very respectful distance. We just want to get a photo of what’s going on. That’s all we want, to get a photo,” she said about the charges.
“I’m not used to being treated with such violence, so it was a very traumatic experience.”
Daniel Penny, meanwhile, has not been charged in the fatal chokehold death of Neely.
A Manhattan grand jury may be convened this week to decide whether any charges might be filed.