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Killing of Black man Jordan Neely in New York by white man leads to outcry

The death of a homeless Black subway passenger, Jordan Neely, in New York City has led to widespread condemnation.

The death of a 30-year-old homeless Black man, who was killed when a white man put him in a chokehold on the New York City subway, led to widespread outcry and protests in the United States.

On Friday, New York City was reeling from the death of Jordan Neely, who was choked to death on May 1 as he complained about being homeless, hungry, and thirsty.

Neely was confronted by a 24-year-old white man, reportedly a US marine veteran, who placed him in a chokehold for 15 minutes for speaking loudly.

The New York City's medical examiner classified the death as a homicide, due to “compression of neck (chokehold)".

Authorities by Thursday evening had not named the suspect and no charges had been filed against him.

Police reportedly spoke with the white man and then let him go.

The New York Post reported on Friday that the suspect has retained a lawyer.

“This is a solemn and serious matter that ended in the tragic loss of Jordan Neely’s life,” a representative for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

The office has begun a “rigorous ongoing investigation” by “senior, experienced prosecutors.”

Neely was described as a kind and talented person by those who knew him. He was known as a performer who impersonated Michael Jackson, gaining the adoration of tourists and locals alike.

He had amassed a following within New York City and beyond, with thousands online admiring the man’s aptitude for dance.

Lennon Edwards, a lawyer representing Neely's family, said: “Fifteen minutes is too long to go without help, intervention and without air. Passengers are not supposed to die on the floor of our subways.”

Neely's death has led to conversations over racism in the US, violence against Black people, and support for the people who are homeless and struggling with mental illness.

“We have people being killed for ringing the wrong doorbell, pulling in the wrong driveway and screaming out in desperation on the subway,” lawyer Donte Mills said, in reference to recent deadly incidents in the US.

“We cannot let that stand,” he added.

Rights activist Jen White-Johnson wrote on Twitter that the “unhoused people are twice as likely to be victims of violent crimes as perpetrators. They're less likely to be believed when they try to report a crime.”

Neely has suffered homelessness and mental illness after losing his mother in a strangulation murder at the age of 14, according to media reports.  

The incident of Neely led to protests in New York City on Thursday.

More protests were held Friday. Protesters gathered outside the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and called for justice for Neely.

They called Neely’s death an act of lynching, likening it to the murder of George Floyd by white officers in 2020.

Fatal police shootings and other forms of violence against African Americans by white police officers have sparked massive protests across the US in recent years.

The disproportionately high rate at which unarmed Black people die at the hands of white police officers in the United States has a corrosive impact on the mental health of Black Americans, according to researchers.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died after being pinned down by a white officer despite yelling: "I cannot breathe."

Floyd's killing drew comparisons to Eric Garner, an unarmed African American who died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by New York City police and pleading: "I can't breathe."

The white Minneapolis police officer pinned him down with his knee in the US state of Minnesota, which led to his death.

African American journalist and political analyst Abayomi Azikiwe jas said since the inception of the police in the United States African people have been “subjected to brutality and death in the interests of the ruling class.”

Decmoractic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the Biden administration over the brutal killing of the homeless Black man. 

"I have yet to hear a real explanation from any official hesitating to condemn the killing of Jordan Neely about what makes condemning this violence so 'complicated.' Killing is wrong. Killing the poor is wrong. Killing the mentally ill is wrong. Why is that so hard to say?" she asked. 

"Neely’s last words were literally about how going to jail was easier than accessing the social safety net support to get back on his feet and lead a life. Yet leaders want to raise his record as if that warrants a public execution on the subway? What have we come to?" she stated. 


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