Jordan Neely was killed on the New York City Subway in Manhattan. Neely, a 30-year-old black man, and Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old white former marine sergeant from Long Island, were involved in this tragic incident. The incident sparked widespread outrage, protests, and legal action.
Jordan Neely‘s Background
Jordan Neely grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, and has been through a lot in his life, including the murder of his mother when he was 14 years old. Following his mother’s murder, he suffered from depression, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and he was frequently homeless. Neely was on the “Top 50 List” at the time of his death, a list of homeless people who need the most help and treatment.
According to a police officer, Neely had been arrested 42 times by the NYPD, most of which were for minor infractions and three of which were for unprovoked assaults on women in the NYC subway.
Neely was in a 15-month alternative to incarceration program at the time of his death after pleading guilty to felony assault on a 67-year-old woman, breaking her nose and fracturing an orbital bone. After missing a court date and leaving the treatment facility, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Events on the Subway
The incident occurred on a northbound F train at Manhattan’s Second Avenue station on May 1st. Neely began to speak, claiming that he was hungry, thirsty, and ready to die.
According to police sources, he threw his black jacket on the ground and trash at passengers. Penny approached Neely from behind and choked him after he threw down his jacket. Neely had not spoken to Penny prior to the chokehold.
The train came to a complete stop at the Broadway-Lafayette Street station. Penny encircled Neely’s neck with his arms and his legs around his waist, while two other men pinned Neely’s arms. Neely fought the chokehold by kicking and attempting to free his arms. Some passengers supported Penny’s actions while others were hostile to Neely.
Penny and one of the other men let go of Neely after he became motionless. Before 2:30 p.m., the New York Police Department arrived and administered first aid to an unconscious Neely. At 2:46 p.m., the New York City Fire Department arrived.
Neely was pronounced dead after being transported to Lenox Hill Hospital. Attempts to resuscitate him inside the subway car were unsuccessful as he was already dead, according to some sources.
Neely was choked by Daniel Penny, a former marine sergeant from Long Island, New York. He hired a former Republican district attorney candidate to represent him in court.
Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter on May 11, 2023, which could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted. Penny was released on $100,000 bail the next day, May 12, and was required to surrender his passport and obtain approval before leaving New York.
Reactions and Protests
The incident sparked outrage and protests from the general public. New York City Mayor Eric Adams called Neely’s death “tragic,” adding that his mental health issues were a factor in his death. Tiffany Cabán, a member of the City Council, blamed the killing on the stigmatization of mental health issues and poverty.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority chair Janno Lieber urged riders to “find a way to deescalate” if “challenges” arise on the subways. New York state Senator Julia Salazar labeled the killing as a “lynching.” Other officials expressed frustration that the assailant had not already been criminally charged.