On Monday, Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old schizophrenic homeless man, with 44 prior arrests, one for punching a 67-year-old woman in the face, another for assaulting Filemon Baltazar as he waited for a train, and with an outstanding warrant for another felony assault, was behaving in a "hostile and erratic" manner on a subway car, terrorizing people, shouting, “I’ll hurt anyone on this train,” and “I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison.” A 24-year-old Marine, Daniel Penny, stood up to protect his fellow passengers by putting Neely in a chokehold to restrain him. Penny released Neely after he stopped struggling and passed out. Neely eventually died as a result.
The medical examiner has ruled Jordan Neely’s death a homicide, and the DA’s office is weighing if the case should go to a grand jury to determine if charges should be brought against Daniel Penny. What are we to do? Imagine if you are living in New York City. The politicians have defunded the police, and also fired hundreds of police officers over the Covid vaccine mandates. There are district attorneys like Alvin Bragg, who downgrade felony assaults to misdemeanors and allow violent criminals back onto the streets. They are encouraging homelessness and drug use. They have declared New York a sanctuary city, so criminal aliens will flock there knowing they will not be deported. And they have passed some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States which limits the average citizens’ ability to protect themselves from violent criminals.
What is the average citizen expected to do if they’re sitting in a subway car and there is a violent insane man threatening to hurt and kill everyone in there? Are they supposed to sit there and take a beating from this mentally insane man and hope they do not die? Are they supposed to wait for the next stop and then flee the car? It seems like once a month, an innocent subway passenger is pushed onto the tracks by some lunatic in New York City. Is this something that citizens of New York must just get used to for living in the city? Is that part of the cultural attraction of big city life, being assaulted by the mentally insane?
We knew the racial dynamic of this incident within hours. Neely was a black man. Penny is a white man. And almost immediately, the race baiting politicians jumped on this incident to politicize it in order to stir up racial animus. "Jordan Neely was murdered," Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, declared on Twitter Wednesday without having seen one shred of evidence.
"Jordan Neely was lynched. He had no food, no water, no safe place to rest. He had the audacity to publicly yell about that massive injustice, so they killed him," New York State Senator Jabari Brisport falsely characterized the incident on Twitter. "This was a lynching," New York state senator, Julia Salazar, declared.
Representative Jamaal Bowman said, "Black men seem to always be choked to death. Jordan Neely did not have to die. It's as simple as that. Yet we have another Black man publicly executed." But back in 2020, Bowman helped create this tragedy when he publicly supported defunding the police by tweeting. "Defund the police, and defund the system that's terrorizing our communities." Maybe if there were more police officers on the street, citizens would not have to use force to prevent violent felons from harming people.
But the entire incident has been distilled down to its racial elements. White man kills a black man. Everything else disappears. The 44 arrests. The outstanding felony warrant. The assault on the 67-year-old woman, the assault on Filemon Baltazar, Neely’s threats to “hurt anyone on this train” and “I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison.” All of that disappeared. It was all erased because Neely was black, and Penny is white. The white person is always wrong and always a racist. The black person is always the innocent victim. The New York Times and CNN even ran stories about the life of Jordan Neely, profiling how Neely was a Michael Jackson impersonator, to give the reader the impression that Daniel Penny had not killed a criminally insane felon who was threatening the lives of innocent people, but, in fact, he killed the beloved Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.
Daniel Penny stepped onto that subway car on Monday with the sole intention of riding it until his stop and then getting out. That’s it. Jordan Neely went onto that subway car to harass and assault and possibly kill numerous subway riders. No citizen should ever be put into the position where they must defend a subway car filled with people from a criminally insane person intent on doing harm, and then possibly face criminal charges from the prosecutors who have failed to prosecute the criminally insane person in the first place.
Yesterday, a mob of leftists jumped onto the New York City subway tracks, protesting Jordan Neely’s death and got into physical confrontations with members of the NYPD. None of those people protesting on the subway tracks yesterday actually care about Jordan Neely. In fact, they probably supported every single one of the pro-crime, pro-homelessness, pro-drug, pro-sanctuary city and anti-police policies which led to his death. Jordan Neely is a political prop to them. He is only useful to them in the way he died.
All of this could be avoided if our politicians would start acting like responsible public officials who are concerned about making our cities and communities safe for everyone. Contrary to what the left tells us, the more police in a community, the safer the community. When Rudy Giuliani cleaned up New York City with pro-law enforcement policies, homicides were reduced from 3,000 per year to 300 per year in New York City. Over 70% of the people being murdered were black. So, the fact that Giuliani was able to reduce the crime rate in New York City by 90% means that he saved thousands of black peoples’ lives.
Giuliani should be held up in a black community as a hero. But instead, he is vilified. Why? The fact that most homicides are intra-racial – black on black or white on white – means that when you prevent thousands of black people from being murdered, you are also most likely incarcerating a high number of black people. But when politicians like AOC, look at the prisons, and see a disproportionate percentage of black prisoners, she automatically assumes, it’s racist and it harms the black community. When, in fact, it does the exact opposite. It saves many black peoples’ lives. That should be seen as a good thing. But it is not aligned with their view of justice.
But what is justice? Is justice allowing a deranged man to terrorize innocent men, women and children on a subway car? Is justice allowing people who commit violent felonies out of jail on misdemeanor charges? But that is what racial justice looks like. Different standards of justice based on race. We know this is a perversion of justice by simply reversing the races. If a deranged white man went onto a subway car filled with black people, and was terrorizing, assaulting and threatening their lives, not one person would give a damn if he ended up dead from that altercation he started. There would be no protests. There would be no editorials written about him. He would be forgotten. And everyone would say that he got what he created.
This perversion of justice is the main reason why Jordan Neely is dead. At no point along the way was Jordan Neely treated like a person – a troubled person who needed help. He was treated as a race, and because of his race, he was allowed to commit crime after crime after crime without being held accountable for his actions or treated for his obvious mental illness. And those mental issues finally took him to a place that was potentially harmful to others which led directly to his demise. Jordan Neely was asphyxiated by Daniel Penny’s chokehold, but he was killed by a system that valued him more for his race more than his humanity.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.