New information has emerged regarding the death of Jordan Neely, who died after a former Marine put him in a deadly chokehold on a New York subway last week. Sources told NBC New York the 30-year-old was placed on the city’s watchlist for at-risk people.
As Blavity reported, Neely was a well-known Michael Jackson impersonator. He was riding a train at the Broadway-Lafayette station when witnesses say Neely acted in a “hostile and erratic manner” and threatened other passengers in the subway car. The now-viral video shows 24-year-old Daniel Penny as he put Neely in a chokehold that ultimately killed him.
Penny was taken into custody and later released. The city’s medical examiner ruled Neely’s death as a homicide, with a Manhattan jury deciding whether to charge the former Marine in his death, according to NBC New York.
Neely was one of 50 houseless people added to a watchlist of people who were considered a danger to themselves and others. One city official, Justin Brannan, shared his thoughts on Neely’s death and how to prevent another tragedy.
“What real life impact are they having. And what can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen again and someone like Jordan Neely doesn’t slip through the cracks,” Brannan, chairman of New York City Council’s Finance Committee, said.
An insider at City Hall denied the sources’ claim that DHS had a list of people that pose public threats. Instead, they monitor the whereabouts of the people who are difficult to reach and who have lived on the street for years.
Last week, the office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg released a statement regarding Neely’s death.
“This is a solemn and serious matter that ended in the tragic loss of Jordan Neely’s life,” the statement read. “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. This investigation is being handled by senior, experienced prosecutors and we will provide an update when there is additional public information to share.”
On Monday, a vigil initially held for Neely quickly turned hostile after more than 150 protesters defied NYPD orders and blocked the subway’s entrance. Eleven protesters were arrested at the demonstration. A photojournalist was also taken into custody at the scene, per NBC New York.
Activists also spoke out against the system, which they say failed Neely after he was houseless and experiencing mental health issues. Blavity reported that his mother, Christie, was killed by her boyfriend in 2007. Neely reportedly never recovered after losing her.
“Mr. Neely suffered from mental illness which began at age 14 when he experienced the brutal murder of his mother. It is a tragedy for all of us to know that Jordan Neely’s life was also cut short. Mills & Edwards is committed to holding accountable the MTA and Neely’s killer,” his family’s attorneys said in a statement obtained by NBC New York.
On Friday, Penny’s attorney released a statement regarding their client’s innocence, stating the 24-year-old never meant to harm Neely.
“When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves, until help arrived,” the lawyers’ statement read. “For too long, those suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference. 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.”
Neely’s family is now demanding justice for his death.