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This article contains graphic and violent imagery that some readers and viewers may find uncomfortable.

There’s a video circling social media that shows two men fighting on an NYC subway train until a third man gets involved and puts one of the men in a chokehold after their squabble endangered a female passenger. Immediately, comparisons were made to the death of Jordan Neely, the homeless Black man who appeared to be suffering from a mental health episode in a subway train earlier this year when he was choked to death by white vigilante Daniel Penny, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter.

But not enough people are talking about how this new subway incident illustrates why Neely should still be alive.

First, let’s start with the recent incident.

This video should be viewed with discretion.

In the video, two white men can be seen squaring up on each other in the Manhattan subway car while passengers who must have been nervous at the very least witnessed the spectacle.

“Touch me,” a man can be heard saying off-camera.

“I’m trained, boy,”‘ one man fired back.

So, the two men start exchanging blows while chasing each other up and down the aisle of the train. Eventually, one of the men finds himself shoved into a couple seated by the door. The woman quickly got up and hurried to the opposite side of the car. A man who appears to be her partner (and appears to be Black—and we all know why that matters) threw off his jacket, revealing a t-shirt with a tiger on it, grabbed one of the men and put him in a headlock. The man in the headlock raised both hands in surrender and gestured for his surprise assailant to let him go.

“Settle down! Relax! You don’t put your hands on my woman! You hear me?” the man who stepped in shouted.

“He is choking! Stop!” a woman can be heard shouting.

Eventually, the man released his captive, the other guy got in a final punch and the man who was placed in the hold ran away. (Oh, what to do about all of this white-on-white crime?)

Again, much has been said about how similar this situation was to that of Neely and Penny, but it’s the differences that should really be highlighted.

First, there’s the most obvious difference: In this case, a white man was being choked by a man of color.

Now, Penny was arrested and charged—although, it’s worth noting that the arrest didn’t happen immediately. Still, we can’t say a white man was allowed to go free after killing a Black man. It is, however, hard to imagine that if the man in the recent incident had choked that white man to death, white conservative America (and this includes Candace Owens) would have immediately jumped to his defense as they did for Penny. It’s hard to imagine right-wing fundraisers would have launched GoFundMe pages that generated millions as they did for Penny. It’s hard to imagine Republican officials and presidential candidates like Nikki Haley blindly calling for the vigilante of color to be pardoned as Haley and others did for Penny. And it’s damn hard to imagine Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urging the public to show “America’s got his back,” as he did for Penny.

But all that is speculation, so let’s set it aside and compare the simple facts.

Jordan Neely hadn’t physically harmed anyone.

As we previously reported, Penny claimed that the “three main threats (Neely) repeated over and over were ‘I’m going to kill you. I’m prepared to go to jail for life and I’m willing to die,’” but the clearly distraught and mentally unhealthy Black man hadn’t even so much as displayed a weapon, let alone tried to hurt anyone. Penny also told Fox News Digital that if Neely “had carried out his threats, he would have killed somebody.” Of course, another way of saying that is: “I killed a man who hadn’t physically attempted to carry out any of his threats.” For the most part, Penny’s entire defense is: “This was a scary situation.”

The two white men on the train actually were being physically violent and putting other passengers in harm’s way during the “scary situation” they caused, and the man who stepped in actually waited until there was a physical threat to others to do so. We can also see in the video that he let the man go once it was pointed out to him that he was choking (basically, the opposite of what happened to George Floyd) instead of maintaining his hold long enough to squeeze the life out of the other man’s body. Penny appeared to have plenty of time to do the same, although, he does claim he wasn’t choking Neely for as long as it was reported.

At the end of the day, the only person to take a life in either of these two subway altercations was Penny, and that’s what we should be focusing on.


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