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Jordan Neely, a vulnerable young man, was killed – and not by his medical history | Moustafa Bayoumi

Much of the talk has been about Neely’s mental health – in large part so we don’t have to talk about our larger societal health

Jordan Neely was choked to death in the middle of the day on a New York City subway car on Monday, and since then people from New York City’s leaders to media commentators have put the focus on the 30-year-old Black man’s mental health. The New York governor Kathy Hochul stated that “some of the factors” in Neely’s death were “people who are homeless in our subways, many of them in the throes of mental health episodes”. Mayor Eric Adams spoke about “serious mental health issues in play here”. John Macari, a retired New York police lieutenant and podcaster told Fox News: “You have people commuting on a train who have to deal with mentally ill people who are a danger to themselves and others.”

But Jordan Neely didn’t kill himself. He was killed, and not by his medical history. A 24-year-old white ex-marine put him in a chokehold for “some 15 minutes,” according to Juan Alberto Vazquez, a witness at the scene, and the medical examiner has ruled Neely’s death a homicide. So instead of focusing on Neely’s past, maybe we should be asking what kind of kind of state of mind does it take to strangle a man to death in public.

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