Jordan Neely video: what happened to straphanger killed on New York subway - what has Mayor Eric Adams said?

People wait for a subway at a Manhattan station (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)People wait for a subway at a Manhattan station (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
People wait for a subway at a Manhattan station (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) | Getty Images
30-year-old Jordan Neely died from compression of the neck, but no arrests have been made

A man who had been yelling at passengers on a New York subway train died after being tackled by other commuters and placed in a chokehold by one of them for so long that his body went limp, US police said.

30-year-old Jordan Neely died from compression of the neck, according to the city’s medical examiner. Some New Yorkers knew Neely as a Michael Jackson impersonator who frequently performed dance moves in the Times Square transportation hub.

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According to witnesses and police, Neely was pacing and shouting on a Manhattan train on Monday afternoon when he was restrained by at least three people, including a US Marine veteran who tightened one arm around his neck.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What happens in the video?

A freelance journalist uploaded a video of the altercation online, showing the man holding Neely in a headlock as Neely fought for several minutes to free himself.

The man is seen in the beginning of the video holding Neely against the man’s head with his other arm while Neely is already lying on the floor of the subway car. In the beginning of the video, the man is seen holding Neely against his head with his other arm while Neely is already lying on the subway car floor.

A second man holds Neely’s outstretched arm while pinning the other hand against his body. Neely is largely motionless but attempts to free himself from the headlock after half a minute. Eventually, he goes limp.

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It is unclear why the group decided to hold him down, but Neely, a black man, lost consiousness during the struggle. After the train stopped at a station, paramedics and police arrived, but Neely was pronounced dead at a Manhattan hospital not long after.

Neely was yelling "aggressively" and complaining of hunger and thirst, Juan Alberto Vazquez, the freelance journalist who recorded the incident, told the New York Post. Neely did not assault anyone physically, Vazquez said, adding that the Marine veteran approached the man after he threw his jacket to the ground.

What happened to the Marine?

The 24-year-old Marine veteran, who appeared to be white, was detained and later released without being charged. His identity has not been made public.

Although Neely’s death was ruled a homicide caused by a chokehold, the medical examiner’s office noted that any determination of criminal culpability would be left to the legal system. The Manhattan district attorney’s office said it is investigating.

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“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,” a spokesperson for the DA said.

What has been the reaction to Neely’s death?

As news of Neely's passing online spread, the video of the encounter sparked strong reactions from New Yorkers and officials. Some characterised the act as a deadly overreaction to a person suffering from mental illness, while others defended the actions of the Marine veteran

On Wednesday afternoon (3 May), a group of protesters gathered in the station where Neely perished to demand an arrest. Kyle Ishmael, a 38-year-old Harlem resident, said the video of the incident left him feeling “disgusted”.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening on my subway in my city that I grew up in,” he said. Neely’s death comes at a time when public awareness of homelessness and mental illness on New York City’s streets and subways is at an all-time high.

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After a number of high-profile incidents, including a shooting on a subway train that injured 10 people last year, Mayor Eric Adams promised to deploy more police officers and mental health professionals across the entire transit system .

Coalition for the Homeless executive director Dave Giffen criticised city and state officials for their inadequate response to the mental health crisis and questioned why the Marine veteran was not facing charges.

“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,” he said. “This is an absolute travesty that must be investigated immediately.”

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