Police seek trespassers on subway tracks in protest of Jordan Neely's death

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 8, 2023
Jordan Neely's death sparks protest on subway tracks
As police search for trespassers in the protest, the public awaits whether a grand jury will charge Daniel Penny for putting Neely in the deadly chokehold. Derick Waller reports.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A handful of protesters of Jordan Neely's death are being sought by police for jumping onto the subway tracks and disrupting service over the weekend.

The Marine at the center of this controversy has not been arrested or charged.

Officials say the protesters got onto the tracks at the Q train station near Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street.

Three people were arrested Saturday for assaulting police officers during the subway death protests. Officials say a 29-year-old man repeatedly slammed an NYPD inspector's arm with a station exit gate, a 25-year-old woman blocked an incoming Q train, refused to get off the tracks, then knocked a police officer to the ground as she resisted arrest and a 42-year-old woman allegedly punched a police officer.

The NYPD is still looking for six others who jumped on the subway tracks.

A grand jury is expected to decide if the Marine, 24-year-old Daniel Penny, will be criminally charged for putting Neely into the chokehold that led to his death, on board a subway train.

Among the considerations - did Neely pose a threat to the safety of other passengers, and did Penny use excessive force when he held Neely in that chokehold, reportedly for about 15 minutes?

Penny subdued Neely after passengers on the train reported Neely was harassing and threatening them as he begged for food.

"The individual who did this has to testify at some point to say, 'I was in fear for my life and I just wanted to end the situation as best I could.' Those things matter. Those statements from the witnesses are really going to play a big role in this," former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

Neely had been previously arrested 44 times for multiple assaults, an attempted child abduction, drugs and indecent exposure. Officials say he had least 43 cases of an "aided case", where mental healthcare workers took him in for treatment.

The day before his death he was under investigation for pushing someone on the tracks. There was currently an arrest warrant for Neely in the violent attack of an older woman.

RELATED| Jordan Neely's family calls chokehold death on subway an 'injustice'

Protesters took to the streets starting in Union Square and headed inside the 63rd Street-Lexington Avenue subway station. Morgan Norwood has more.

"When I hear that he was yelling and ranting, last time I checked the penalty for ranting is not death. He looked visibility in pain and hurting where he couldn't perform said 'I'm hungry, people help me'," Lance Clarke, a friend of Neely's, said.

As demonstrators cried out over the weekend, friends remembered a street performer who impersonated Michael Jackson. Neely's friends also say this was a man who needed proper psychiatric help.

"Very concerned for him the last time I saw him. He said 'I'm going to get it together, trust me,'" said Moses Harper. Neely was reportedly on an unofficial city list of the top 50 homeless people most in need of care.

Penny's attorney put out a statement that Penny had been aggressively threatened by Neely, which led Penny and other subway riders to protect themselves before police arrived. The attorney also said Penny could not have foreseen Neely's death.

RELATED| Jordan Neely's family calls chokehold death on subway an 'injustice'

Eyewitness News spoke to family members of Jordan Neely, the subway performer who was choked to death on an uptown F train.


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