New Yorkers demand justice for homeless man killed on subway
New York, May 5 (EFE).- People gathered Friday for a protest to demand justice in the case of a black homeless man with a history of mental health problems who died on the New York City subway after being placed in a chokehold by another passenger.
“Justice for Jordan Neely,” “Being poor is not a crime,” and “Housing is a human right” were among the slogans displayed on placards at the demonstration in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park.
“We are here to demand that charges are filed against the person responsible for the death of Nelly and also that public funds are invested in housing, food, and education,” one of the protest organizers, Karla Reyes of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told EFE.
The 30-year-old Neely’s death has been ruled a homicide by the coroner, though it remains unclear whether the person who put him a chokehold will face charges.
That individual has been identified as Daniel Penny, 24, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Police questioned him following the incident, but he was not arrested.
“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,” Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Doug Cohen said in a statement.
Neely, known to many in New York – and beyond, thanks to the internet – for his performances as a Michael Jackson imitator, was in an agitated state when he boarded a subway car Monday afternoon, witnesses said.
Juan Alberto Vazquez, a witness who filmed the incident on video, told CNN that while Neely was “acting erratically” before Penny intervened, he did not attack or threaten anyone on the train.
After yelling that he was “fed up and hungry” and “tired of having nothing,” Neely said: “I don’t care if I die. I don’t care if I go to jail. I don’t have any food. I’m done,” according to Vazquez.
Penny approached Neely from behind and applied a chokehold.
The two men ended up on the floor and remained there until police arrived, by which point Neely was unconscious. Officers administered first aid and then took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that day.
New York has seen a number of cases where homeless people suffering from mental illness have assaulted and even killed subway passengers.