Mourners demand justice at Jordan Neely funeral
Hundreds of mourners in New York City gathered for the funeral of Jordan Neely, a homeless man and former subway performer whose death has sparked a national debate about homelessness, race, and public safety.
During a service that lasted nearly two hours, speakers expressed hope that the 30-year-old’s death would prompt reforms to the city’s complex and flawed system for helping the homeless.
But they also demanded accountability for his death, which many at the funeral saw as yet another unjust killing of an African American man.
“We should not celebrate Jordan’s life,” said Reverend Al Sharpton during his eulogy. “But we should not ignore how he died.”
It was the circumstances of his death that had brought so many people to Harlem’s Mount Neboh Baptist Church on Friday morning.
Mr Neely died in an altercation on subway car on May 1 after another passenger, 24-year-old Daniel Penny, placed him in a chokehold for several minutes.
Witnesses on the train said Mr Neely had entered the car shouting that he was hungry, thirsty, and ready to die. No evidence has yet emerged that Mr Neely physically attacked anyone during the incident.
A local journalist captured the incident on video, which showed Mr Penny with his arm around Mr Neely’s neck as he slowly lost consciousness and grew still.
Mr Penny, a former US Marine, was charged with manslaughter over Mr Neely’s death. Lawyers for Mr Penny have said that he acted in self defence, “never intended” to harm Mr Neely and “could not have foreseen his untimely death”. —BBC