Homeless man’s death in NYC subway sparks outrage, protests

by Will Tubbs

Chris Lieberman, FISM News

Demonstrators marched on a New York City subway stop Wednesday night to protest the death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man who was placed in a chokehold on a subway car after threatening other passengers during an apparent mental breakdown.

The incident occurred Monday afternoon on a Manhattan subway, where Neely began acting erratically. Witnesses say he was pacing up and down the car, yelling at passengers, and throwing objects after boarding the train at Second Ave. station.

“The man got on the subway car and began to say a somewhat aggressive speech, saying he was hungry, he was thirsty, that he didn’t care about anything, he didn’t care about going to jail, he didn’t care that he gets a big life sentence,” Juan Alberto Vazquez, a passenger on the subway car told NBC New York. “That ‘It doesn’t even matter if I died.’”

An unnamed 24-year-old Marine approached Neely from behind and placed him in a chokehold, which lasted approximately 15 minutes. The Marine told other passengers to call 911. Two others aided him in subduing Neely.

Neely had lost consciousness when police arrived on the scene at the Broadway-Lafayette station. He was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

On Wednesday, a medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide caused by compression of the neck. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is conducting an investigation to determine whether or not to bring charges against the Marine.

Neely’s aunt, Carolyn Neely, told the New York Post that her nephew’s mental health struggles began after his mother was murdered by his stepfather in 2007, when he was just 14.

“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 tried to get Jordan help, but to no avail. “The whole system just failed him. He fell through the cracks of the system,” she said.

According to the New York Daily News, Neely has been arrested more than 40 times over the past decade, including most recently in November 2021 for assaulting a 67-year-old woman while she was leaving a subway car.

OCASIO-CORTEZ AND ADAMS LAUNCH WAR OF WORDS 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams called Neely’s death, “tragic,” and urged city officials to do more to get those with mental health issues the help they need.

But New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Adams’ response, referring to Neely’s death as “a public murder” and describing the mayor’s refusal to condemn the Marine’s actions as, “a new low.”

“Jordan Neely was murdered,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday. “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.”

But in an interview on CNN Primetime Wednesday night, Adams rebuked the congresswoman’s comments, saying, “I don’t think that’s very responsible at a time when we’re still investigating the situation. 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. And I’m going to be responsible and allow them to do their job and allow them to determine what exactly happened here.”

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