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What happened to Jordan Neely is a city’s failure to police subways and treat mentally ill

Before going any further let’s just say what every New Yorker knows. The city’s subway is unsafe. Every New Yorker knows it. Every New Yorker talks about it. Everyone has a story about it.

Those who are able to find other routes around the city do. Most women I know won’t use it after dark. And even in the middle of the day you see sights that just aren’t normal. But they’ve become normal here. We just got used to it.

We got used to the homeless people using the subway to keep warm or dry. We got used to mentally ill people screaming at cars full of people. We got used to people high on legal or illegal drugs staggering around.

And we got used to looking down — staring intently into our phones and hoping it would go away.

Well, we’re the lucky ones. The unlucky ones are people like 40-year old Michelle Go, of Manhattan who was shoved onto the tracks in front of an R train last year at 42nd Street station. She was picked on at random by a homeless man.

Do some people exaggerate the danger of the subway? Probably. But everybody who uses the subway knows that at any moment you are only a couple of beats away from things going south fast.

That is why the rush to judgment over what happened on the F train on Monday is so doubly appalling.

Jordan Neely died on the F train after another passenger put him in a chokehold earlier this week.
Juan Vazquez

All we know is that 30-year old Jordan Neely was screaming “in an aggressive manner” at people, saying he was tired, had no food and didn’t care if he died or went to jail. When he took his jacket off and threw it to the ground a 24-year old straphanger intervened and wrestled him to the ground. A number of other people tried to help subdue the man. While being held in a choke position Neely died.

Part of this was caught on camera, so of course the usual suspects decided they knew everything.

First responders attempting to revive Neely at Broadway-Lafayette station on May 1, 2023.
First responders attempting to revive Neely at Broadway-Lafayette station on May 1, 2023.
Paul Martinka for NY Post

A protestor holding a sign with Neely's last words.
A protestor holding a sign with Neely’s last words.
AP Photo/Jake Offenhartz

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to say that “Jordan Neely was murdered” and that because the dead man was homeless nobody cared what happened to him.

She wasn’t the only one. Rep Jamaal Bowman Tweeted out that “Black men seem to always be choked to death . . . Jordan Neely did not have to die. It’s as simple as that . . . Yet we have another Black man publicly executed.” Consider that inflammatory charge for a moment. Black men seem to “always” be choked to death. Really? “Always.” And an “execution.”

Not to be outdone, Rep Ayanna Pressley Tweeted out “Black men deserve to grow old — not be lynched on a Subway.”

Right there we have every charge imaginable. While knowing the powder-keg they are standing beside these Squad members and others decide to claim that what happened on Monday was a lynching, an execution, murder, and typical. All based on the fact that the dead man was black and the man who tried to subdue him was white.

In fact the only thing that is typical about this story is the response of these dangerous, race-baiting representatives.

Thank goodness that Mayor Adams showed some appropriate political leadership, by denouncing these interventions and others as irresponsible.

“Let’s let the DA conduct his investigation with the law enforcement officials . . . I’m going to be responsible and allow them to do their job and allow them to determine exactly what happened here.”

He is completely right. We need to wait and see the full facts of the case. And guess what — it may well turn out to be complicated, and not fit any of the simple causes of the day.

Still, already we have people who want to make a name off Neely’s dead body by asserting that he was simply an innocent man, and fond Michael Jackson impersonator, who just had the misfortune to be homeless. The facts are not so simple.

Mayor Eric Adams condemned progressives politicians making judgements before the DA's office investigation is complete.
Mayor Eric Adams condemned progressive politicians making judgements before the DA’s office investigation is complete.

Neely previously performed on the subway as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
Neely previously performed on the subway as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
Provided by Carolyn Neely

We now know that Neely had a vast rap sheet. Forty-two past arrests between 2013 and 2021 alone, including four for assault. Of course none of this means he deserved to die. But then it seems very unlikely that the young Marine who tried to subdue him meant to cause his death.

This is the situation that the negligent leadership in this city has led it to. New York residents and visitors know that at any moment things on the subway can turn nasty or even deadly. Nobody knows when one of the people who clearly needs help might turn.

And it’s not like the police are down there to help. On the subway one night after Monday’s incident I actually saw some officers at the gates. They were standing idly around, watching as people jumped the gates, among much else. One even muttered “Thanks for traveling free.”

Neely had 42 past arrests between 2013 and 2021.
Neely had 42 past arrests between 2013 and 2021.
Provided by Carolyn Neely

In a way it was the perfect symbol of the city. For years the authorities allowed “small” crimes to go unnoticed. We allowed mentally ill people to roam the streets because the left believe that putting them in institutions robs them of agency. At the same time we made homelessness a way of life. And as law enforcement recedes the public are left to take over. And the public are likely to make mistakes.

Monday was a tragedy for Jordan Neely, his family and those who knew him. The Marine vet who put him in the chokehold will have it weighing heavily on his conscience forever, too. But in any sane city it would also have been completely avoidable.

A ‘Classic’ reaction

Mystery still surrounds the woman who appeared to have had a “full body orgasm” at a Los Angeles Philharmonic concert last week. During the orchestra’s performance of Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony last week the earth seemed to move for one audience member.

What I can’t understand is why the LA Phil refused to comment when the Post approached them about the story. If there was even a rumor of a woman having a full-body orgasm during an event I was speaking at I would immediately affirm that this was the case, say that it happens all the time and can’t really see what all the fuss is about.

Why don’t the LA Phil take this route? Ticket sales would soar.

This story originally appeared on NYPost

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