The death of Neely on the New York Subway has been ruled a homicide after the 30-year-old homeless man was filmed being placed in a chokehold after acting in an erratic manner, frustrated about his personal situation.
The homicide ruling doesn’t decide intent or criminal culpability.
New York Mayor Eric Adams came under fire for his lack of rebuke following Neely’s death, including from Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called out Mr Adams for “not being able to condemn a public murder”.
Appearing on CNN, Mr Adams said, “We cannot just blanketly say what a passenger should or should not do in a situation like that.”
The video of the incident, filmed by journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, shows Neely shouting and throwing his jacket on the ground.
A passenger, a former marine whose name has not been released by police, pinned Neely to the ground in a chokehold, leaving him unconscious, according to the New York Post.
New York State Senator Julia Salazar called Neely’s death a “lynching”.
The NAACP tweeted a message which was shared by Black Lives Matter, saying that “The latest example of inhumane vigilante justice is a complete travesty. Jordan Neely was restrained for 15 minutes, which resulted in the loss of his life, as onlookers watched and recorded. Those involved should be held accountable”.
New York officials began drifting apart as they reacted to the news of Neely’s death.
In a statement, New York Representative Dan Goldman, who represents the area where the incident took place, said that “Jordan Neely’s murder is a heartbreaking tragedy”.
“Mental illness should never be a death sentence, and he would still be with us in a more caring and compassionate society. We need to better address the mental health crisis in our city and country,” he added.
City Comptroller Brad Lander tweeted on Tuesday that “NYC is not Gotham. We must not become a city where a mentally ill human being can be choked to death by a vigilante without consequences. Or where the killer is justified & cheered”.
“Jordan Neely was murdered. But bc Jordan was houseless and crying for food in a time when the city is raising rents and stripping services to militarize itself while many in power demonize the poor, the murderer gets protected w/ passive headlines + no charges,” Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It’s disgusting.”
But Mr Adams criticised other elected officials for seeming to be getting ahead of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.
“I don’t think that’s very responsible at a time when we are still investigating the situation. Let’s let the DA conduct his investigation with law enforcement officials,” the mayor said on CNN. “To interfere with that is not the right thing to do.”