Medical examiner rules death of man choked by former marine on subway as homicide
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Featured Image Credit: Juan Vazquez / Carolyn Neely
A medical examiner has determined the cause of death for a 30-year-old man who died after being choked on a New York subway by a former marine.
Police have said Jordan Neely was on a northbound F train at the Broadway-Lafayette station on Monday (1 May) when passengers noticed him starting to behave erratically.
Neely was allegedly making threats and harassing passengers, after which a 24-year-old man stepped in and attempted to subdue him.
The encounter became physical and the former marine put Neely in a chokehold, causing him to lose consciousness.
Once off the train he was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Following an investigation, a medical examiner determined Neely's cause of death was a homicide as a result of the compression on his neck.
Police questioned the 24-year-old man involved in the altercation, who claimed he stepped in to help fellow passengers. Other people on the train at the time have corroborated his story, telling police that the man asked passengers to call 911 while he held Neely.
One witness, Alberto Vazquez, told The New York Post Neely had been shouting at passengers to say he didn’t have any food or drinks, and didn’t care if he went to jail.
After being questioned by detectives, the 24-year-old man was released.
In spite of the man's explanation for his actions, many people have argued Neely's death was unnecessary.
Crowds gathered at Broadway-Lafayette station to protest his death, claiming Neely may have been treated unfairly because he was experiencing homelessness.
Neely had also been arrested more than 40 times on the subway in recent years.
Krys Cerisier, of the organisation Vocal NY, said: "Because what people are constantly given is this narrative that homeless people are dangerous, people think they can take matters into their own hands and view a Black man being upset that he's hungry as a threat."
The Coalition for the Homeless described Neely's death as an 'absolute travesty', saying: "This horrific incident is yet another reminder of Governor Hochuls' and Mayor Adams' complete failure to provide the critical mental health services desperately needed by so many people in our city.
"What's more, the fact that someone who took the life of a distressed, mentally-ill human being on a subway could be set free without facing any consequences is shocking, and evidences the City's callous indifference to the lives of those who are homeless and psychiatrically unwell. This is an absolute travesty that must be investigated immediately."
The medical examiner's ruling on Neely's cause of death does not necessarily mean the case will be prosecuted as a homicide. Manhattan's District Attorney's office is currently investigating the case and will determine how it will be prosecuted.
A spokesperson for the office commented: “This is a solemn and serious matter that ended in the tragic loss of Jordan Neely’s life.
“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.”