The New York City man who died in a chokehold on the subway was said to be on the city’s list of homeless people who desperately needed help.
According to CNN, 30-year-old Jordan Neely was a homeless man with mental health issues who made a living in Time Square and the subways as a Michael Jackson impersonator. But things went south in Neely’s life in recent years.
An anonymous source told the outlet that the NYC Department of Homeless Services had him on its “Top 50” list, which comprised names of unhoused individuals. The department referred to it as the “Top 50” list because those listed would disappear.
The list’s purpose was to inform outreach organizations to look out for specific people and report them to the department so that it could intervene.
Unfortunately, Neely never got the so-called help the city wanted to “give” because, on May 1, Neely’s life ended when a passenger subdued Neely with a chokehold that ultimately killed him.
The passenger, 24-year-old US Marine veteran Daniel Penny, and his lawyers claimed Neely was “aggressively threatening” passengers while screaming about him being hungry, thirsty and not seeing a reason to live. To Penny, it gave him the green light to choke the homeless man to death.
Penny’s lawyers at Raiser & Kenniff called the situation an “awful tragedy” and claimed Penny was protecting himself.”
However, a witness told the outlet that while Neely was erratic, he didn’t have a weapon and didn’t harm anyone.
Penny and his lawyers released a statement giving their condolences to Neely’s family but not apologizing. They highlighted Neely’s criminal record, which showed Neely’s fare evasion charge, his getting arrested over 40 times for stealing and unprovoked assaults on women in the subway. They used it to justify murdering someone with a mental illness.
They ended the statement by saying, “We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways.”
— JMJMUS (@jmjmus) May 6, 2023
However, Neely’s family said the statement wasn’t an apology.
“Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret. It is a character assassination and a clear example of why he believed he was entitled to take Jordan’s life,” the family’s statement read.
They pinpointed how Penny’s statement attempted to make Jordan’s life seem “worthless,” stating they didn’t know anything about Jordan’s life.
“…he knew nothing about Jordan’s history when he intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordan’s neck and squeezed and kept squeezing.”
Jordan Neely’s family release a statement: “Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret.” pic.twitter.com/Af2jBA70j0
— Breaking Trends News (@btrendsnews) May 8, 2023
Neely’s family also said that his mother’s death impacted his mind as a teen.
People across the state, including elected officials, protested and called for Penny to be charged for his actions.
“The legislature banned police from using chokeholds in 2020 for a reason. There’s no excuse for a civilian to use such a deadly maneuver, especially on someone experiencing a mental health crisis,” Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal wrote on Twitter.
The legislature banned police from using chokeholds in 2020 for a reason. There’s no excuse for a civilian to use such a deadly maneuver, especially on someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
— Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (@bradhoylman) May 4, 2023