🔴 Homeless man killed on NYC subway in a chokehold by ex-Marine sparks protests

🔴 As a young man in New Jersey, he testified against the killer who strangled his mother

🔴 NYPD says the man had a history of mental health-related problems

The former New Jersey man who died in a chokehold on a Manhattan subway had been suffering from mental illness since his mother’s murder, according to both surviving family and authorities.

A New York grand jury could soon deliberate the death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely, who had been acting erratically and yelling in a subway car on Monday afternoon when a 24-year-old subway passenger put him in a chokehold that ultimately resulted in his death.

That passenger has been identified as Daniel Penny, of Long Island, who previously served four years as a U.S. Marine through 2021, New York 1 reported. Penny has not been charged with a crime and was not arrested.

MORE: Will Marine be charged with killing unstable NY subway rider? Depends on 'reasonableness'

Graphic video clips of the more than two-minute chokehold on the floor of a subway car have circulated on social media. Penny has said that he was trying to hold Neely for police officers, according to the New York Post.

An autopsy on Wednesday confirmed Neely’s cause of death as compressions to the neck and manner of death to be homicide.

The New York Police Department has asked for all witnesses to come forward with any footage of the “tragic incident,” saying the department’s first priority is always to seek justice.

Shawn Southerland (NJ DOC)
Shawn Southerland (NJ DOC)

Neely testified as an 18-year-old against his mom’s killer in NJ

Neely was just 18 when he took the witness stand against the man convicted of murdering his mother in Bayonne in 2007.

The body of 36-year-old Christie Neely was found stuffed into a suitcase and dumped along the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York.

Shawn Southerland has been serving a 30-year prison sentence for Christie Neely’s murder.

He currently was incarcerated at East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, according to prison records.

One of Jordan Neely’s relatives has said of her troubled nephew: “The whole system just failed him. He fell through the cracks of the system.”

“As his aunt, as his blood, I was crying out for medical help for my nephew — but everything was about insurance,” Carolyn Neely also said to The New York Post. “Doctors knew his condition, he needed to be treated … He wasn’t a bad person.”

A GoFundMe campaign set up by Carolyn Neely for her nephew’s funeral expenses had raised more than $40,000 on Friday.

Neely had a history of run-ins with police, including some violent outbursts

A thread on Reddit from 10 years ago appears to reference the mental illness struggles that Neely had gone through.

Titled “Try to stay away from the Michael Jackson impersonator if you see him…” the post from 2013 said he used “to be all cool, dancing to MJ in the subway train, but as of late he's become a maniac.”

The original author has since locked the post.

As of Thursday, an update to the Reddit thread said “Listen, I’m not deleting this post. I have muted this thread so I stopped getting alerts. This is NOT an excuse for you right-wing lunatics to be acting wild in the comments or spew your anti-black bull crap, so please refrain.”

Another old video clip of Neely acting aggressively on a New York street has been shared online, including one posted to Twitter with extreme profanity.

In it, Neely uses homophobic slurs while both he and the man filming trade disparaging remarks.

NY protests call for criminal charges to be filed in Neely’s death

There have been several arrests amid public protests over the handling of Neely’s chokehold death in New York City.

Demonstrators have pointed to systemic racism as an issue — as Penny is white and Neely is Black. The video, however, shows another person of color helping Penny restrain Neely.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been criticized for his reaction to the death as well.

Adams appeared on CNN this week, where anchor Abby D. Phillip asked him about “vigilantism… is it OK for passengers to take matters into their own hands?”

On Twitter, Phillip shared a clip from the interview in which Adams said “each situation is different …. We cannot just blanketly say what a passenger should or should not do on a situation like that.”

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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