Senior News Editor since 2004
Troubling video footage captures the moment a 30-year-old is knocked out by a wannabe hero straphanger and held in a chokehold until he dies on the F train.
Shocking video shows NYC subway passenger putting unhinged man in deadly chokehold
Larry Celona and
May 2, 2023 6:58pm
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Dramatic new video shows a straphanger taking matters into his own hands, pinning down an unhinged man in a deadly incident at a Manhattan subway station this week.
The 24-year-old passenger stepped in after the vagrant, identified by sources as Jordan Neely, 30, began going on an aggressive rant on a northbound F train Monday afternoon, according to police and a witness who took the video.
“He starts to make a speech,” freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez said in Spanish during an interview Tuesday, referring to the disturbed man.
“He started screaming in an aggressive manner,” Vazquez told The Post. “He said he had no food, he had no drink, that he was tired and doesn’t care if he goes to jail. He started screaming all these things, took off his jacket, a black jacket that he had, and threw it on the ground.”
That’s when he said the straphanger came up behind Neely and took him to the ground in a chokehold — keeping him there for some 15 minutes, Vazquez said.
The approximately three-minute-and-a-half-long video shot by Vazquez shows the blond subway rider lying on the floor of the train with his arm wrapped around the man’s neck.
The train was stopped, with the doors opened, at the Broadway-Lafayette Street/Bleeker Street station, where Vasquez said the conductor had called 911.
The 24-year-old passenger stepped in after the vagrant, identified by sources as Jordan Neely, 30, began going on an aggressive rant.Juan Vazquez
Neely — who was living on the streets and had a history of mental health issues — lost consciousness after being put in the chokehold, and EMS workers at the station were unable to revive him, police and law enforcement sources said.
The straphanger — who sources said is a Marine veteran — was taken into custody and later released without charges.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities were waiting on autopsy results before deciding whether to pursue charges against the younger man, sources said.
He declined to comment when reached by The Post Tuesday, saying, “I am not interested in answering any questions, thank you.”
Vazquez, who was on his way to Yonkers at about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, said Neely barged into the train at the Second Avenue station — and quickly began screaming and yelling at riders, prompting many to move away.
Video taken later shows the man flailing his arms and legs in an effort to free himself as the straphanger has him in a headlock and another bystander helps to hold him down on the floor of the subway train.
“He moved his arms but he couldn’t express anything,” Vazquez said of Neely. “All he could do was move his arms.
“Then suddenly he just stopped moving,” Vasquez recalled. “He was out of strength.”
The straphanger came up behind Neely and took him to the ground in a chokehold for 15 minutes.Paul Martinka
A person can be heard in the video expressing worry about Neely’s well-being off-camera.
The man who had been helping the straphanger hold Neely down replies that “He’s not squeezing no more.” The two then let Neely go after a few seconds, leaving him lying on his side on the ground.
“None of us who were there thought he was in danger of dying,” Vasquez said. “We thought he just passed out or ran out of air.”
Neely lost consciousness after being put in the chokehold, and EMS workers at the station were unable to revive him.Juan Vazquez
Vazquez said he had mixed feelings about the fatal encounter — particularly since he said Neely had not physically attacked anyone on the train before he was taken down.
“I think that in one sense it’s fine that citizens want to jump in and help. But I think as heroes we have to use moderation,” he said.
“This would never have happened if the police had shown up within five minutes,” he added. “Then we’d be talking about a true hero. It’s complicated.”