Homeless Man Strangled to Death in NYC Subway


Igor Ovsyannykov

Ethan Hunting, Online Copy Editor

      Jordan Neely, a 30 year old black homeless man, was killed on the subway in New York City, drawing national media attention and sparking outrage on social media. 

     The incident occurred on May 1, when Neely was held in a chokehold until dying from asphyxiation. The circumstances around the motive remain unclear, but eyewitness reports have helped to clear some of the confusion.

     According to Juan Alberto Vazquez, a witness interviewed by CNN, Neely had been “acting erratically” before the attack, but he did not attack or harm anyone present. Neely made remarks about being “fed up and hungry” and “tired of having nothing.” He also alluded to being suicidal, saying “I don’t care if I die. I don’t care if I go to jail.”

     Neely eventually threw his jacket on the floor of the train, repeating more of the same sentiments about wanting to go to jail and wanting to die. A rider eventually came up behind Neely, putting him in a chokehold and bringing both of them to the floor.

     According to Vasquez, Neely did not interact directly with the assailant prior to the attack. The duo struggled on the floor for roughly seven minutes according to Vasquez, he did not begin filming until roughly three or four minutes into the attack. 

     Two other passengers can be seen in the video, with one appearing to help the assailant restrain Neely. Eventually, Neely stopped moving.

     According to CNN, the police arrived at the station in Lower Manhattan before 2:30 PM, and Neely was later pronounced dead.

     The man responsible for the attack was identified as Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old Marine veteran according to his attorneys. After being interviewed by detectives, he was released, with law enforcement noting he had no prior criminal record.

     In a statement from his attorneys, “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death. 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.”

     The incident has sparked outrage on both sides of the political landscape on social media. Many left-wing protesters are calling it equivalent to a public lynching, while several right-wing activists have praised the act of violence for clearing the streets of crime. Whether Penny will receive punishment for the incident remains unclear.