No charges yet for man who put Black homeless New Yorker in chokehold on the F train

Gothamist, Matt Katz, Samantha Max, May 3, 2023

The death of a Black man who appeared to be suffering from mental illness on an F train on Monday is stirring outrage after a white man who had placed him in a chokehold wasn’t charged by the NYPD.

Dozens gathered on the Broadway-Lafayette subway platform Wednesday to protest the death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely. Chants of “Black lives matter” and “the homeless matter” echoed through the station, where Neely had been picked up by emergency workers and taken to a hospital, where he died, police said.

The incident is under continued investigation, according to the NYPD and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Neely died by compression of the neck, or chokehold, according to the medical examiner’s office, which ruled the death a homicide.

Neely was a Michael Jackson impersonator who had performed on subway platforms for years. On Monday afternoon he was riding the subway, complaining of hunger and thirst, according to journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who witnessed the incident and posted a video depicting part of the encounter on his Facebook page.

Vazquez wrote on Facebook that Neely yelled that he was tired — that he didn’t care if he went to prison and that he was ready to die. He said Neely took off his jacket and aggressively threw it on the floor of the subway car. Then, Vazquez wrote, a passenger on the train put Neely in a headlock.

Vazquez’s video shows the passenger, who has not been identified, on the ground with his arms wrapped around Neely’s neck. This went on, according to Vazquez, for 15 minutes. At one point Neely’s eyes closed as his legs flailed, and eventually he stopped moving entirely.

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