Subway Protests Erupt In NYC, Disrupting Working Commuters

Protests over the death of 30-year-old homeless man Jordan Neely have caused significant disruptions in New York City subway services. Demonstrators gathered in the Lexington Avenue and East 63rd Street station on Saturday, demanding what they considered to be justice for Neely, who was held in a chokehold by 24-year-old Marine veteran Daniel Penny before his death.

The protests led to the temporary shutdown of power at the station as participants jumped onto the tracks, obstructing an incoming Q train. New York police arrested at least seven individuals involved in the demonstrations, with some aggressive encounters between protesters and law enforcement.

Neely, known widely for his Michael Jackson impersonations, suffered from schizophrenia, PTSD, and depression, according to his aunt. He had been arrested 42 times, including four times for assault. At the time of his death, Neely had an active warrant for allegedly assaulting a 67-year-old woman in 2021. Subway riders had expressed concerns about Neely’s erratic behavior for almost a decade.

Daniel Penny, the Marine veteran involved in the fatal altercation, has not been charged with a crime for his role in Neely’s death. However, the district attorney is considering charges that could include involuntary manslaughter. Penny released a statement through his attorneys on Friday night, saying he “never intended to harm” Neely.

The subway protests escalated when demonstrators blocked a car’s open doorway, trapping passengers inside. One rider asked officers to move the protesters so he could exit the train. The protesters shouted back, “find another train” and “you not getting off this train sir!” As police evacuated the station, protesters became more aggressive, leading to several arrests.

The violent clashes continued at street level when demonstrators blocked a roadway intersection. Protesters chanted phrases such as “No justice, no peace!,” “Abolish the police,” “You can’t stop a revolution” and “Daniel Penny’s got to go.”

In the wake of these protests, there has been a call for increased police presence in subways to maintain order and safety for passengers and protesters. Mayor Eric Adams has previously claimed that “New York has a brand,” and many believe that brand includes a need for more significant security measures on subway tracks.

As the city struggles with this tragic event, many are left wondering what measures can be taken to ensure the safety of citizens and the mentally ill, who frequently find themselves at the center of these incidents. The case of Jordan Neely has undoubtedly ignited a discussion on the complexities of mental health and law enforcement, with advocates on both sides demanding change.

With protests set to continue, the coming days will likely reveal more about the impact of this incident on public opinion and potential policy changes in New York City.