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Black Political Opinion: Jordan Neely- a life cut short by Daniel Penny, not racism

Lashaun Turner

Black Political Opinion is a multi-part opinion-editorial series that will look at various political topics, news, and views that impact the black community. (Disclaimer: Lashaun is a Black female, conservative leaning Independent, who voted for Biden in 2020).
Jordan NeelyPhoto byTwitter

The death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old Black man who was choked to death by a Marine veteran on a New York City subway, has sparked outrage and protests. Many people have called for the veteran, Daniel Penny, to be charged with murder.

On May 2, 2023, Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old Black homeless man, was killed on a New York City subway train after being placed in a chokehold by another passenger, Daniel Penny. The incident has sparked outrage and calls for justice.

Neely was a well-known figure in the New York City subway system, where he would often perform as a Michael Jackson impersonator. He was also known for his struggles with mental health and homelessness. In the years leading up to his death, Neely had been arrested multiple times for disorderly conduct and trespassing.

“'I don’t have food, I don’t have a drink, I’m fed up. I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I’m ready to die. I’ll hurt anyone on this train”- Jordan Neely

On the day of his death, Neely was riding the F train when he began acting erratically. Witnesses say he was yelling and pacing back and forth, and he appeared to be in a state of mental distress.

Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old former Marine veteran, approached Neely and attempted to restrain him, along with other passengers. The Marine put Neely in a chokehold, which caused him to lose consciousness and led to his subsequent death.

Some have suggested this tragedy could have had a racial component. They have pointed out that Neely was Black and Penny is white, and they have argued that this was a racially motivated attack.

However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Penny has said that he acted in self-defense, and there is no indication that he had any racial animus towards Neely. The tragic interaction appears to be that of a man who made a bad decision, and it resulted in the death of another man.

In fact, Penny has said that he is sorry for Neely's death, and he has expressed condolences to Neely's family. A statement released by Penny’s attorney said in part “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”

New York City Council Speaker Adams wasted no time implying racial undertones to the response of this tragedy:

Jordan Neely was a New Yorker, a son, and a performer, and he should still be alive. My heart and condolences are with his loved ones during this difficult time. His killing at the hands of a fellow passenger and the responses to this violence that took his life have been not only tragic but difficult to absorb. Racism that continues to permeate throughout our society allows for a level of dehumanization that denies Black people from being recognized as victims when subjected to acts of violence. The perceptions of Black people have long been interpreted through a distorted, racialized lens that aims to justify violence against us. - Speaker Adams

Black Lives Matter and the NAACP joined the growing number of Democrats calling for accountability in the chokehold killing of 30-year-old homeless man Jordan Neely.

Grand jury could convene next week in Jordan Neely’s chokehold death

Instead of deflecting to race or racism, we should focus on the real issues that led to Neely's death. These include the lack of affordable housing, and the lack of access to mental health care. These are the issues that need to be addressed if we want to prevent future tragedies like this from happening.

We should not let this incident and politicians rhetoric be used to divide us further. Instead, we should come together and work to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.

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Lashaun is a Journalist whose column covers Black Political Opinion, Local stories and the I.E Food Tour, with NEWSBREAK since June 2021.- JADED: Journalism with a Touch of Shade is Lashaun's views and opinions on various trending topics. Lashaun aka Lady I.M.PRE$S is a former NBC/CNBC Affiliate KCAA Broadcaster for "Cali's BEST" Radio Show airing on 102.3FM & 106.5FM from 2016-2020. Lashaun has been in the Media & P.R field for over 13 years and has interviewed an estimated 20k Celebrities and Entrepreneurs. Lashaun also produced & hosted Blaze Indie L.A TV show on LA's Channel 36 from 2014-2016"

Los Angeles, CA

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