National News Desk

Man dies after being placed in chokehold on NYC subway amid rise in anti-homeless sentiment

Broadway-Lafayette Street Subway Station in New York City
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — A man, believed to be homeless, died after being placed in a chokehold by another subway passenger for several minutes, according to police and a video taken of the incident.

The man who was killed Monday was identified by police as Jordan Neely. He had been allegedly yelling and ranting on the train before being subdued by another subway passenger, according to independent journalist Juan Alberto Vázquez, who reported on the incident via the Facebook page “Luces de Nueva York.”

“‘I don’t have food. I don’t have a drink. I am fed up,'” Neely said, according to Vázquez. “‘I don’t care if I go to jail, and if they give me life in prison … I am ready to die.'”

According to police, a 24-year-old man stepped in to subdue Neely who was allegedly harassing passengers and making threats.

Cellphone video taken by Vázquez captured the aftermath.

The footage appears to show Neely being choked by another subway passenger as a different passenger holds down Neely until he stops moving.

Police confirmed Neely lost consciousness after the physical struggle. Neely was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The 24-year old man was questioned by detectives and released, according to police.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to the NYPD.

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander has spoken out over Neely’s death.

“NYC is not Gotham. We must not become a city where a mentally ill human being can be choked to death by a vigilante without consequence. Or where the killer is justified & cheered,” Lander said in a tweet.

Advocates for homeless populations say anti-homeless sentiment wrongfully paints this vulnerable population as inherently dangerous and creates a climate of fear of them that increases “the likelihood of these sorts of tragedies,” according to a statement from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

“People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable individuals in our communities,” the organization told ABC News.

Homeless populations are more likely to be victims of violence and crimes than general populations, according to research in The Lancet public health journal.

Reports of homeless people being killed or attacked in California and South Carolina have also made headlines in recent weeks.

Dave Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, told ABC News that political rhetoric surrounding the community has led to violence and hate.

“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,” said Giffen in a statement.

According to police sources, Neely had a documented mental health history. He had been arrested more than 40 times prior for assault, disorderly conduct and fare evasion.

Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters Wednesday that she found the video “deeply disturbing” and gave a nod to the $1 billion dollar investment in mental health services throughout the state.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.