Jordan Neely NYC subway chokehold death: Reverend Al Sharpton to deliver eulogy, condemn vigilantism

Jordan Neely NYC subway chokehold death: Reverend Al Sharpton to deliver eulogy, condemn vigilantism

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) — Loved ones gathered in Harlem for the funeral of Jordan Neely.

The Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a powerful eulogy Friday morning, that included remarks about condemning vigilantism.

Neely, 30, died after Marine Veteran Daniel Penny, 24, put him in a chokehold on an F train earlier this month.

Lawyers for Penny say Neely was threating passengers, but a grand jury handed up an indictment and Penny has since been charged with manslaughter.

“We should not not celebrate Jordan’s life, but we should not forget how he died. We’re not here because of natural causes,” Sharpton said at the start of his eulogy.

The former Michael Jackson impersonator more recently battled mental health problems and was in and out of psychiatric care more than 40 times, arrested another 40 times, even accused of brutally beating a woman.

“Jordan was not annoying anyone on the train. Jordan was screaming for help. We keep criminalizing people with mental illness. They don’t need abuse, they need help,” Sharpton added.

Family members have said the trouble really started after Neely’s mother was brutally murdered in 2007.

In a new interview on “Nightline,” one of Neely’s aunts says he was homeless by choice.

“So did anyone in the…Do you think in the immediate family had a sense of where his life was, where he was both physically and mentally in the last year or two of his life?” asked Byron Pitts, ABC News.

“Not to my knowledge,” said Midlred E.J.B. Mahazu,” Neely’s aunt. “I wouldn’t consider Jordan being homeless. Jordan just liked to be out. He had a grandma and a grandpa here. He had aunts. He had uncles, right here. He just didn’t want to be tied up, I guess. He’d do what he wanted to do concerning that, so we couldn’t make him.”

“So he, his choice was to live on the street?” Pitts asked.

“I assume he did,” Mahazu said.

“A good Samaritan helps those in trouble, they don’t choke them out,” Sharpton said to much applause. “What happened to Jordan was a crime and this family shouldn’t have to stand alone.”

Eyewitness News has learned detectives are still looking to interview people on that train, including at least one of the men who helped Penny hold Neely down.

There has been conflicting accounts from witnesses, some believing the chokehold went too far, while others are calling Penny a hero.

The marine veteran is out on $100,000 bond after being charged with second-degree manslaughter.

A private viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Friday. Neely’s funeral will begin at 11 a.m. and will be livestreamed by abc7NY.

ALSO READ | Jordan Neely’s family calls Daniel Penny’s statement ‘admission of guilt’


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