Jordan Neely died on a New York City subway after a man put him in a chokehold for several minutes while two others held his arms down. The incident has been ruled a homicide by a city medical examiner, saying Neely died by compression to his neck.
Witnesses and police say that Neely had been shouting and threatening passengers in an apparent mental health episode.
The 24-year-old Marine veteran who put the victim in a chokehold Monday was questioned by police and released that same day.
One witness said Neely had been panhandling and shouting on the train, but the witness said, “It did not appear that this man, who seemed to be suffering from some kind of mental disturbance, was seeking to assault anyone.”
Neely, 30, was a homeless man and known as a Michael Jackson impersonator with more than 40 prior arrests and an active warrant out for his arrest from a felony assault.
Some protesters are calling it a semi-sanctioned vigilante response to homelessness and the mental health crisis, with others defending the actions of the Marine who had asked fellow passengers to call 911.
Any criminal case could come down to whether the man who placed Neely in a chokehold was justified in using force, according to legal specialists.