Multiple Arrests Made in New York City at Jordan Neely Vigil

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
May 9, 2023New Yorkshare
Multiple Arrests Made in New York City at Jordan Neely Vigil
Photojournalist Stephanie Keith is detained by police officers at a vigil protesting the death of Jordan Neely in New York City on May 8, 2023. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

As protests continue in New York over the choke-hold death of Jordan Neely, multiple demonstrators were arrested on Monday when a vigil got out of hand.

New York has seen widespread protests since Neely died on a subway train when another passenger, Marine veteran Daniel Penny, put Neely in a choke hold to restrain him on May 1.

On Monday, protesters gathered at the Broadway-Lafayette subway station where Neely died for a vigil to remember the 30-year-old homeless Michael Jackson impersonator.

Around 7 p.m., with emotions heating up, and with one protester shouting “Are we not revolutionaries?”, chaos eventually erupted. Footage on Twitter shows protesters clashing with police.

During a press conference later that night, NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey confirmed that 11 people were arrested. Most were charged with disorderly conduct. Two people were arrested for entering into an affray.

Police said they warned protesters multiple times that using sound-amplification equipment required a permit, without which they would be arrested.

Photos and footage from the scene also show the arrest of freelance news photographer Stephanie Keith. Police alleged she interfered with at least three arrests of other people before she was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Earlier, authorities had issued arrest warrants for six people who jumped onto the train tracks in an Upper East Side station during protests on Saturday, disrupting train services at the busy subway station.

Two of them had joined the Monday protest; They were recognized and apprehended.

According to the freelance journalist who recorded Neely’s death on May 1st, Neely was acting erratically when he entered the train, and began threatening passengers.

A few people tried to restrain him, a situation that ended with Penny, a 24-year-old Marine, dragging Neely to the ground, placing him in a headlock, and holding him there until he lost consciousness. When it appeared Neely had stopped breathing, onlookers attempted to resuscitate him, but to no avail.

The city’s medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide caused by compression of the neck. Penny has not been charged as yet.

The DA, however, is mulling charges.

Penny’s attorneys say their client acted to protect himself and the other passengers on the train, adding that Penny “never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”

The Neely family’s attorneys have called for Penny to be imprisoned.

Neely, a homeless man, had been suffering from mental illness for years. According to his family, he sank into a deep depression at the age of 14 after his mother was brutally murdered by her partner in 2007.

Neely also had a lengthy criminal record, including three cases of assault. In 2019, he attacked a 68-year-old man on a Greenwich Village subway platform. In June 2021, he randomly punched a 65-year-old woman inside an East Village Deli market.

A few months later, he hit a 67-year-old woman, breaking her nose and orbital bone. Neely pleaded guilty and received an alternative-to-incarceration program.

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