Jordan Neely‘s family has called out New York City’s mayor in no uncertain terms while demanding criminal charges for the man shown on video choking the unarmed Black man to death on the subway last week.
In their official response to a statement from the legal team of Daniel Penny, Neely’s family said through their attorneys that the 24-year-old Marine who placed Neely in a deadly chokehold on a subway train in Manhattan had already admitted his guilt in the brazen vigilante killing.
But the statement also made sure to address New York City Eric Adams, whose only public statements on Neely’s death seemed to describe Penny in benevolent terms instead of recognizing he took the law into his own hands and committed homicide, as determined by the local medical examiner’s office.
During an interview on CNN last week, Adams refused to say Neely was murdered and blasted elected officials for insisting that’s exactly what happened.
Adams, a former longtime police officer who’s made no secret of his unwavering allegiance to the NYPD, specifically lashed out New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who called the incident “a public murder” — and state City Comptroller Brad Lander — who tweeted the definition of “vigilantism” in response to the killing. They both also criticized the heroic treatment of the homicidal vigilante in local media.
“I don’t think that’s very responsible at the time where we are still investigating the situation,” Adams told Abby Phillip on CNN Primetime last Wednesday.
Adams said he wanted to have “the DA conduct his investigation with the law enforcement officials. To really interfere with that is not the right thing to do and I’m going to be responsible and allow them to do their job and allow them to determine exactly what happened here.”
Adams deflected when Phillip suggested the lenient reaction from law enforcement could set a dangerous precedent for subway passengers moving forward.
“We have so many cases where passengers assist other riders. And we don’t know exactly what happened here,” Adams said. “And so we cannot just blatantly say what a passenger should or should not do in a situation like that, and we should allow the investigation to take its course.”
It was in that context that Neely’s family implored Adams to “please give us a call,” emphasizing that the “family wants you to know that Jordan matters.”
The statement didn’t stop there when it came to Adams.
“You seem to think others are more important than him,” the statement added before accurately concluding with: “You cannot ‘assist’ someone with a chokehold.”
Of course, the statement from Neely’s family also had some choice words for Penny and his legal team, which on Friday night released a statement claiming the chokehold was “never intended to harm Mr. Neely.”
The statement also criminalized Neely in death and said he was “aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers,” directly contradicting claims from eyewitnesses.
In response, Neely’s family pointed out that Penny’s statement “was not an apology nor an expression of regret.”
Calling the statement “character assassination” of Neely, Penny was accused of feeling “entitled to take Jordan’s life.”
Neely’s family said Penny “never intended to help [Jordan] at all. In short, his actions on the train, and now his words, show why he needs to be in prison.”
Exactly one week ago, Neely was in the throes of a mental health crisis and yelling to passengers aboard an F-line subway train that he was hungry and, according to reports, claimed that he didn’t care about any potential consequences as a result.
An eyewitness says that’s when Penny came up behind Neely and placed him in a sprawling chokehold for at least 15 minutes, squeezing the life out of the homeless man who witnesses claim was not being violent or threatening. At least two other men helped Penny restrain Neely. First responders couldn’t revive Neely and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.
Police arrested Penny the same day but quickly released him without any criminal charges. Now, it appears that the prospects for Penny to be charged with any crime related to what a medical examiner ruled was a homicide are few and far in between.
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