“NYPD let his killer go. Imagine a Black ex marine choking a homeless white man to death and police letting him walk away.”

Questions have been raised about the New York Police Department’s treatment of the former Marine who killed 30-year-old Jordan Neely.

Neely, a Black man, died on Monday after the 24-year-old Marine veteran, who is white, put him in a chokehold on an F train in Manhattan, according to witness accounts and a video of the encounter.

As The Intercept noted on Wednesday, details about Neely’s medical and criminal history have since been released to the public, but police have yet to provide any information about the Marine veteran.

Beth Haroules, director of disability justice litigation at the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the publication: “They’re acting as if this Marine was a member of the force.”

The 24-year-old Marine veteran was taken into custody for questioning on Monday and later released without charge.

Lt. Thomas Antonetti of the New York Police Department told Newsweek that the decision to release the man without charge was made by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, prior to the city’s medical examiner ruling Neely’s death a homicide. The medical examiner on Wednesday said Neely died from compression of the neck.

“At the time when this had taken place on Monday, it’s not yet deemed or ruled a homicide,” Antonetti said. “The decision ultimately from the district attorney’s office was that the individual would not be charged so that individual, that 24-year-old male, he was then subsequently released from custody.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said the investigation is ongoing.

“As part of our rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the Medical Examiner’s report, assess all available video and photo footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and obtain additional medical records,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The identity of the Marine veteran would be made public if he is charged, Antonetti said. “This is a very fluid incident and subject at this point in time, because that determination is to be made,” he said.

A video posted online by a freelance journalist showed the Marine veteran lying beneath Neely and holding him in a headlock position for several minutes as Neely tried in vain to break free. Another passenger pinned his arms, while a third held down his shoulder.

Juan Alberto Vazquez, the journalist who recorded the incident, told the New York Post that Neely had been screaming “in an aggressive manner” and complaining of hunger and thirst. He said Neely did not attack anyone, but took his jacket off and threw it on the ground.

As outrage over the killing grows, others have questioned the police department’s response.

In a tweet, Bishop Talbert Swan, a pastor and activist, suggested race was a factor.

“This is Jordan Neely, a homeless Black man with a history of mental illness, being choked to death by an ex marine for allegedly yelling at passengers,” he tweeted alongside a clip of the encounter.

NYPD let his killer go. Imagine a Black ex marine choking a homeless white man to death and police letting him walk away.”

Advocates working to help those affected by homelessness and other issues have blamed Neely’s killing on fear-mongering rhetoric from Democratic leaders in New York, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

“We are living in a state where a Mayor and Governor successfully campaigned to keep poor people in jails, flooded our subways with cops, and a white man can kill a Black man and be released without charge,” said Jawanza Williams, director of organizing at VOCAL-NY, a grassroots organization that advocates for low-income people affected by homelessness and other issues.

“The murder of Jordan Neely is a direct result of the sustained political, systemic abandonment and dehumanization of people experiencing homelessness and mental health complexities, fueled by press coverage that clearly influences policies and emboldens vigilantes.

“People have been deputized by Mayor Adams’ and Governor Hochul’s hyper-conservative, fear-mongering rhetoric and now a man has been lynched.”

Sara Newman, director of organizing at the Open Hearts Initiative, a group to build community support for homeless New Yorkers, also linked Neely’s killing to “efforts to dehumanize and demonize New Yorkers who are experiencing homelessness, living with mental illness, or just existing in the world as Black and poor.”

Newman added: “It underscores a truth that folks who have lived on the streets know especially well: people experiencing homelessness or mental illness are at far higher risk of being harmed than of harming others. This killing is a horrifying reminder of how people’s perception of safety—feeling uncomfortable or unsettled by another person’s behavior—is used to justify very real harm.”

GoFundMe page has been set up to cover Neely’s funeral expenses.

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