On Monday, a 30-year-old black man was killed in a struggle on a New York City subway train after he reportedly threatened and intimidated other passengers.
Jordan Neely, a homeless man with a lengthy criminal record, had begun yelling and pacing around on an F train in Manhattan. One witness, Juan Alberto Vasquez, reported that Neely yelled “I want food,” “I’m not taking no for an answer,” “I’m ready to go back to jail,” and “I’ll hurt anyone on this train.”
Vasquez also reported that Neely said he didn’t care if he got a life sentence and didn’t care if he died, causing passengers to worry that he would hurt someone, not knowing whether or not the crazed man was armed.
As passengers grew more uneasy, a 24-year-old ex-Marine came up behind Neely and put him in a chokehold, brought him to the ground, and restrained him.
“I’ll hurt anyone on this train” – Jordan Neely
If this happened on a plane, he would be taken down immediately no questions asked
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— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) May 4, 2023
Video footage taken of the incident showed that the Marine veteran and a couple of other passengers who were helping to restrain Neely released him when they noticed he was no longer fighting back.
When EMS workers at the station arrived on site they were unable to revive him and Neely was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital.
“None of us who were there thought he was in danger of dying,” said Vasquez. “We thought he just passed out or ran out of air.”
Homeless Black man,30-year-old Jordan Neely choked to death by 3 passengers in NYC subway F Train this week #JusticeforJordanNeely 🙏 pic.twitter.com/cJIcRcXFX8
— Voice Of Our Ancestors Channel (@VoiceOfOurAnces) May 3, 2023
Neely had been living on the streets of New York and had a history of mental illness as well as a criminal record that included 42 prior arrests between 2013 and 2021, including four for assault.
Of course, many people are coming out in protest of Neely’s death, claiming that he was completely “harmless” and was “just asking for food.” Additionally, the video of Neely being restrained is being posted on social media without any context besides the fact that he was a homeless black man that was choked to death by a white man.
Many are failing to mention the other threatening remarks Neely made, such as “I’m not taking no for an answer,” “I’m ready to go back to jail,” and that he didn’t care if he got a life sentence.
Police ARREST multiple protesters as they march through NYC for #JordanNeely after they disrupt train service. It's following Neely's death by a choke hold by another subway rider on the MTA train Monday. https://t.co/wf3haSPjYU
📹 by Ken Lopez [email protected] to license https://t.co/GerrrHKk4L pic.twitter.com/hyMXb4gWpp
— Oliya Scootercaster 📸 (@ScooterCasterNY) May 3, 2023
The death of Neely was a tragedy, as is any loss of life.
The Marine who jumped into action did not seem to have the intention of taking Neely’s life but rather to protect the innocent people trapped in a train car with a crazed man who was threatening violence.
His true guilt, however, is to be decided by investigators and in a court of law.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), unsurprisingly, did not want to wait for a proper investigation to be conducted and immediately took to social media to declare the ex-Marine a murderer.
On Twitter, AOC decided to take justice into her own hands, declaring, “Jordan Neely was murdered.”
“Jordan was houseless and crying for food,” she wrote, leaving out the part about his verbal threats.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) then issued a statement on Neely’s death, properly remaining neutral as there is an active investigation into the matter.
“Any loss of life is tragic. There’s a lot we don’t know about what happened here, so I’m going to refrain from commenting further. However, we do know that there were serious mental health issues in play here, which is why our administration has made record investments in providing care to those who need it and getting people of [sic] the streets and the subways, and out of dangerous situations. And I need all elected officials and advocacy groups to join us in prioritizing getting people the care they need and not just allowing them to languish.”
This statement angered AOC, who inappropriately responded to the mayor saying, “This honestly feels like a new low: not being able to clearly condemn a public murder because the victim was of a social status some would deem ‘too low’ to care about. The last sentence is especially rich from an admin trying to cut the very services that could have helped him.”
This honestly feels like a new low: not being able to clearly condemn a public murder because the victim was of a social status some would deem “too low” to care about.
The last sentence is especially rich from an admin trying to cut the very services that could have helped him. https://t.co/0DtXl9DOO5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 3, 2023
Adams later appeared on “CNN Primetime” where he was asked to respond to AOC’s outrage.
The mayor condemned the congresswoman for jumping to the conclusion that the ex-Marine was a murderer before he was tried in a court of law.
“I don’t think that’s very responsible at a time when we’re still investigating the situation,” said Adams. “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.”