Fellow subway rider, Manhattan DA speak out on Jordan Neely death

As tensions continue to rise over the chokehold death of Jordan Neely on a subway car, a man who was on that train is among those speaking out on Tuesday.

“I saw that his eyes were staring off and the he was limp, so I went in through another door and I went to pour some water on Jordan Neely’s head and Daniel Penny came up over and told me to stop,” said Johnny Grima who watched the incident from another train car.

Grima said he regrets walking away because other riders told him Neely had a pulse. He also spoke out about Daniel Penny, the man accused of choking him.

“If he didn’t have the intention of killing Jordan Neely, I believe that at the least, he did not have consideration for his life because he was poor, homeless and Black,” Grima said.

Protesters are calling for the arrest of the Marine veteran, but Penny said he was defending himself and others after Neely harassed and threatened them.

Neely had a history of cycling out of psychiatric facilities and jail.

“My heart breaks over the loss of young Jordan,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams. “Many people miss the fact that Jordan is my son’s name… we cannot be so encompassed and so thoughtful on talking about merely how this young man died, without answering the question how was he living?”

Neely’s death came as Adams has been trying to address mental illness in the transit system, even authorizing police to involuntarily commit people who appear to be a danger to themselves or others.

Source say Neely was on an unofficial list of the top 50 most endangered homeless people in the subway, but he lacked the services that might have intervened before he crossed paths with Penny.

“I’ve been in the subway system talking to young Black men who are the majority of those who are homeless and dealing with sever mental illnesses,” Adams said. “Trying to get them off the system in the that they deserve. I don’t want us to be energized when there is a death and not energized when there’s conditions that are creating the deaths that are at our hand. We have to be proactive and not reactive.”

As a grand jury may convene this week to weigh possible charges against Penny, District Attorney Bragg spoke for the first time about the case and said just because his office hasn’t said anything doesn’t mean they aren’t taking it seriously.

“Sometimes people peer into the silence and look at that as if the office isn’t doing anything or is not important, it’s quite the contrary,” Bragg said.

A White House spokesperson also put out a statement on Neely’s death on Tuesday:

“Jordan Neely’s killing was tragic and deeply disturbing. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones. We firmly believe that the events surrounding his death demand a thorough investigation.”

Neely’s family announced his funeral will take place May 19 at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem. Neely’s family has requested Rev. Al Sharpton to deliver his eulogy.

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