Rev. Al Sharpton is delivering a eulogy Friday for Jordan Neely, the 30-year-old homeless man who was strangled to death by a passenger on a New York subway.
Neely died on May 1 after being held in a stranglehold.
Last week, Daniel Penny was arrested and charged in connection to Neely’s death. Penny’s lawyers have reportedly said he acted out of self-defense.
Sharpton’s National Action Network said he is delivering the eulogy “at the request of his family.”
Neely’s funeral is being held at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem.
Neely’s family said he was experiencing a mental health episode while on the train. Sharpton and New York Mayor Eric Adams have condemned the killing.
“Killing at the hands of a fellow passenger and the responses to this violence that took his life have been not only tragic but difficult to absorb,” Adams said. “Racism that continues to permeate throughout our society allows for a level of dehumanization that denies Black people from being recognized as victims when subjected to acts of violence. The perceptions of Black people have long been interpreted through a distorted, racialized lens that aims to justify violence against us. It is another example of how far we remain from an equitable and just society.”
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Juan Alberto Vazquez told WNBC that he and others on the train were scared, claiming that Neely yelled and threatened passengers. He said the chokehold lasted 15 minutes as Neely allegedly continued to kick and struggle with Penny and two other passengers.
Neely’s death prompted protests in New York City and calls for action to help the city’s homeless population.
“There are more Jordans out there, people who are loved, people in need of compassion, treatment, and protection — people like Jordan. Jordan Neely's life mattered. He was suffering from severe mental illness, but that was not the cause of his death. His death is a tragedy that never should have happened,” Adams said.
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