The death of Jordan Neely, a homeless man who was choked on a New York City subway by a Marine, has been ruled a homicide, reports NBC New York. An autopsy revealed that Neely died because of compression to the neck.
On Monday, May 1, 2023, Jordan, who suffered from mental illness and was a known Michael Jackson impersonator, yelled at passengers on a New York subway train that he was hungry and thirsty. In response, a Marine placed Neely in a chokehold for 15 minutes until he lost consciousness. When Neely was taken to a local hospital in Manhattan, he was pronounced dead.
According to the NYPD, after the fatal incident, the 24-year-old who choked Neely was questioned by law enforcement and was later released. He claimed that he was advocating for passengers who were threatened by Jordan Neely.
In response, activists and local politicians are demanding justice and have accused Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD of inaction. A mass protest was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday.
“The latest example of inhumane vigilante justice is a complete travesty. Jordan Neely was restrained for 15 minutes, which resulted in the loss of his life, as onlookers watched and recorded,” the NAACP tweeted. “Those involved should be held accountable.”
Although the death was ruled homicide, the decision to prosecute the military veteran is up to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
"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," a spokesperson for the DA said in a statement.
Appearing in a TV interview on Wednesday, Mayor Adams assured the citizens of New York that a full investigation was underway and seemed to sympathize with the Marine as a former officer of the law.
"I was a former transit officer, and I responded to many jobs where you had a passenger assisting somewhat," Adams said. "So we can't make a blanket statement as to what a passenger should or shouldn't do in a situation like that."
Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York stated that the video of the incident was "deeply disturbing, and it causes a lot of fear in people, and actually, the mayor and I are working so hard to restore that sense of safety."
New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams also released a statement calling for accountability in the aftermath of Neely's brutal killing.
“Let’s be clear: any possible mental health challenges that Jordan Neely may have been experiencing were no reason for his life to be taken,” her statement read. "My heart and condolences are with his loved ones during this difficult time. His killing at the hands of a fellow passenger and the responses to this violence that took his life has been not only tragic but difficult to absorb."
As of now, no charges have been filed against the Marine for his role in Neely’s death.