A week after Jordan Neely’s death, New Yorkers continue to grapple with brutal killing of the homeless Michael Jackson impersonator who was choked out by a Marine riding the F train on May 1.
Those mourning the loss of Neely constructed a makeshift memorial at the entrance to the subway station where he lost his life. Broadway and East Houston Street on the Lower East Side was adorned with flowers, candles, signs, and messages of love drawn in chalk on May 7.
However, while the signs and flowers had been removed come Monday morning, the notes written in chalk reading “Jordan Neely #RidingwhileBlack” and “RIP Jordan Neely” remained as straphangers came and went.
Talking with amNewYork Metro during their morning commute, New Yorkers spoke up regarding their feelings on the now viral killing.
Lex Beckman says she was left shocked by the video that has circulated online and says she is surprised other riders did not intervene.
“It just kind of just shows that racism is still everywhere. I was very surprised that the community didn’t interfere or do anything. I mean, like, we all see street performers all the time,” Beckman said. “To be yelling about food, you know, not doing anything like harassing anybody, not causing problems, just crying out for help.”
Beckman also added that she feels disgusted that Neely’s killer has yet to be charged and is currently walking free.
“That’s ridiculous. That is absolutely ridiculous. And the mayor is not doing shit. So, it’s just like all around,very frustrating. And we keep seeing this happen over and over again. And it takes the public to have these big protests and all this stuff, and then I even saw people got arrested at the protests, which is just so frustrating,” Beckman added.
Not everybody feels the same way.
Simon Bonder charges that while he admits the man — identified as Daniel Penny, who allegedly placed Neely in the chokehold — should have gone about things differently, he also believes that he acted in self-defense and feels like the city should have stepped up to help Neely off of the streets years ago.
“Yes, what he did was wrong, but he acted in self-defense. The city is failing. He [Neely] needed help and nobody helped him. Yeah he should not have put him in the chokehold but he didn’t know what to do,” Bonder said.
Luigi, another rider who stepped out of the subway to go to work pointed out that as an unhoused person, Neely would have went through traumatic experiences living in the street and believes his life should not have been snuffed out.
“Nobody should take somebody else’s life away. Second of all this is a homeless person, people have got to understand they go through a lot of stuff,” Luigi said. “They are not a regular person like me or you because they are not living a regular life. You should have more consideration for those type of people.”
Luigi added he is furious about the situation and told amNewYork Metro that if he had been in that F train he would have attempted to stop the chokehold.
“I am not going to lie, if I would have been on the train, I would have approached them because I don’t feel like it’s right for someone to take someone else’s life away,” Luigi said.