Episode 57: NYC Subway Passenger Kills Unhinged Man With Deadly Chokehold (2023)
11:54AM Jun 2, 2023
Whoa, just curious. Welcome to Just curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.
And I'm Sal Rodriguez.
All right, so we are back with another crime.
And of course we're getting into the casualties.
This is a tough one. This is a tough one, a timely one. Because today we are breaking down the True Crime Story of the New York City subway passenger kills, unhinged man with deadly chokehold in 2023 20 people
watching MMA I know that that's what this is a Yeah, surely surely, that has to be mentioned at some point by somebody?
Probably. Well, this is a very complicated situation. very recent to and tragic. And it just so happened on this particular day, I was leaving New York City via Penn Station, although we weren't getting on a subway, we're getting on a train to go to New Jersey. So it wasn't anywhere near this, but yet it's connected. And I read it the next day and was like, Oh my gosh, and just the events and watch the video and knew that we had to cover it on that screen.
Was there a you think a change in the in the air? Did you feel anything? Anything?
Because the timeline, I think I was on that train when this unfortunate incident was occurring. So there was no the news doesn't travel that fast. But later that night, the next day it did and I just was like, wow, oh my gosh. So let's jump into it because it's heavy and there's a lot to get through. On May 1 2023 30 year old Jordan Neely began an aggressive rant on a northbound F train on a New York City subway. Shortly thereafter, fellow passenger 24 year old US Marine veteran, Daniel pinnae intervened taking nearly to the ground and putting him in a chokehold.
You know, in reporting, I always wonder, they always mentioned the person's occupation. So in this instance, is the fact that he's a US Marine veteran, relevant to the overall story because we were talking about training. Yeah, that's what that implies that it's not like, if someone who was not a US Marine veteran, did this. Right. Does that imply you should know better? Does that imply that
I it's just the facts. Marines are trained, sees a threat diffuses threat and turns into a killing unfortunately, I mean, the video says a lot and I don't know if you've seen the whole video. It's like three and a half minutes long.
Well, Jason, yes. I have seen the video it's very disturbing. There's even a warning in the beginning of the video distressing content. Yeah. And I have to mention MMA again, you know, as a as a decade's long MMA fan, we see this type of choke happen all the time. It is a type of choke, I believe could be called a rear naked choke based on the body positioning and you cannot any submission hold, but in this instance, a deadly chokehold cannot be just held indefinitely. You can't just hold a chokehold and the refs come in and break it up? Yeah, a refs gonna break it up, somebody's gonna break it up. But based on the video, it did look to me like the chokehold was not necessary for three guys to hold this guy down. Who is? Well, we're gonna hear what he has to say. But it's like I did not see that necessary force when this particular instance.
So continuing on, another passenger on the train, freelance journalist Juan Alberto vest squares, filmed nearly three and a half minute video, the one that you and I both saw, and shared the following about Neely,
he started screaming in an aggressive manner. 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.
So he's making a scene. I've been on many subways before. I've seen a few scenes.
We've all I think anybody in any city has seen in any city for
sure, but a subway in particular, but absolutely. We've all been around this. The difference with a subway though Sal or a bus is you're stuck. You're kind of stuck, you know, Subway, you can maybe get to the next card, you know, I'm assuming it's accessible and not full. But these are not places you want to be.
Right Jason, I don't like subways, I'm just gonna come out here. You got that claustrophobic side of you. It's claustrophobic. It's also just like, I like personal space. Let me tell you something. When the COVID world came out, distancing, yeah, when they came out with this thing called social distancing, I was like, Where are you been my whole life? You know, but this is this is fantastic. So yeah, you're you're tight with a bunch of strangers. What if it's hot? What if the air conditioning is not working? You cannot escape. You're trapped. And then stuff like this happens. I don't like subways.
I understand. Sal. Come to New York. I'll meet you there. We'll take the subway. I'll show you the city painted red. Negative. Never since
the Warriors Jason ever since the warrior. I know ever since I was like, I don't think I like the subway.
No background check. There's a lot happening. You have this freelance journalist filming sharing information. And then he said Vesko Is that is that Penny came up behind Neely during this tirade, you know, just not happy to own his jacket and took into the ground and a chokehold. This is the tough part. Keeping him there for 15 minutes. Not the three and a half minutes in a video which is still too long and an MMA fight like you're talking about. They come over in a matter of seconds. Okay, done. You tap out. You tap out, okay, over 15 minutes now, hopefully most of this is he's just trying to restrain him. And yes, if you watch the video, other people are also helping. But you don't need to apply that continued pressure now sell some people do that hold until they can choke them out, not kill them, but knock them out. That's probably someone's intent who's a novice or maybe in the Marine Corps? They've done it. I'm assuming that's what's going through their head, not all the way to expiring them.
Well, Jason, I think a lot of it has to do with the fitness and overall strength
of the pro side choked. Absolutely. Can I take it?
I mean, imagine that let's let's say hypothetically, this were an 85 year old woman being choked. Would we assume an 85 year old woman is going to be choked out and BLK and come to 30 seconds later? Like an MMA fighter? Yeah, no. So we should never assume anybody can just come to like our favorite MMA fighters. It doesn't work that way. Those are top athletes. An average random person who's to say, I could live through being choked out. I think I'm so strong or fit. I may not survive being choked up.
I know. And just talking about this crime. I knew this would happen to just start to stir things up. Like yeah, it's an overcompensation for being scared trying to be a hero fear. But making a scene and threatening people is also bad. It's a very complicated situation, but the outcome was horrific, horrific. So the video as we've been talking about, it's quite disturbing. It shows penne with his arm wrapped around Mealies neck in a headlock as other bystanders one for sure. Is helping, just helping trying to control Neil his hands as if they're still threatening. I mean, they're not but people, they probably never been in a situation like this. Can't speak for the Marine, but others watching, thinking they're helping. And this happens. I was telling Sophia, I've read this too many times. A lot of times, if there's an incident at a bar, or a strip club, and someone's misbehaving, bouncers, tackle them, put them on the ground, you can't hear them, right. It's loud music's banging. And they have killed them, you know, just ran out of breath. But no one ever heard the guy went into screaming to get up. This is not a first. It's a scary thing when you take someone's air supply. Yeah, very scary. Now, vest squares also added the following sound, please go ahead.
He moved his arms, but he couldn't express anything. All he could do was move his arms, then suddenly he just stopped moving. He was out of strength. None of us who were there thought he was in danger of dying. We thought he just passed out or ran out of air.
See, again, I think that's the intent. But as you just astutely pointed out, we don't know this guy's condition. Nearly. We find out he's homeless. It could be malnutrition. You don't know. And you can get dehydrated a huge thing. People die from dehydration all the time. So yeah, someone's at risk. And they can't take this. But these people, they're not the white. They don't know what's going on. So yeah, this is an unfortunate situation on countless fronts. So Vasquez said he had mixed feelings about the fatal encounter, because Neely had not physically attacked anyone on the train before he was taken down. And he goes on to say, I think that in one sense, it's Fine citizens want to jump in and help. But I think as heroes, we have to use moderation. This would never have happened. If the police had shown up within five minutes, then we'd be talking about a true hero. It's complicated. And it is very well, I
think he brought up a very important point, and that is that Neely had not physically attacked anyone. No.
So well, but didn't I mean, I mean,
even though none of the words no attack, no. Attacked verbally. No, he did not attack people verbally. He was just kind of going nuts.
unhandled. And he put people on edge. Yeah. And it probably if it's going to get to this point, I do agree. It has to cross a line. Like, I'm not here to judge. I'm just here to report. But I think if I'm in that situation, I'm monitoring it very closely. If I'm on that Subway, I'm locked in, like a hawk and just trying to get to a safe place. That threat would have to physically come up to me, whomever it is, whatever it is, and cross those barriers. That's me, or who I'm with, like, all of a sudden you or Sophia or someone's in harm's way and, and actually being accosted. That's what I that's my barometer. That's when I would cross over other people. Different. They feel threatened if you look at him. So I don't know.
I mean, we're talking about Neil, he's mental health. Yes, his possible mental health issues have been addressed. How about penny, nobody's talking about the fact that maybe PTSD might have some PTSD, you know, so when we're talking about mental health, whenever the word mental health comes up, you have to consider not just all sides. Yeah, everybody, everybody, everybody's running around with mental health issues out there.
And this is still a very recent situation here, right, horrific event, and it's constantly moving, and more of these things will probably come out. In fact, I thought I was done and then kept looking. And they're statements we're gonna get into by both sides. And we'll save that for the end. Back to the crime. The north bound F train was eventually stopped, and the conductor called 911. 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 are unable to revive him. Ah,
it's one of those things like it just brings to mind. These guys are trying to basically render him unconscious. So I was I was thinking, Well, why doesn't anybody register first aid when he's unconscious? Because that was their objective. Their objective was to pull them out, not then revive him and bring him back to consciousness. Yeah, so this is yeah, there's so many gray areas and what do they call precariousness? Here? Yeah, good luck to whatever judge or jury will have to sort this up.
Yeah. As for Penny, he was questioned by police and released the same day, and he has not been criminally charged. The case is expected to go before a grand jury this week to determine whether or not to bring criminal charges. Now, the New York City medical examiner did rule that Jordan Neal his death was a homicide. And since this unfortunate and deadly event occurred, there have been ongoing protest in New York City. If I was still there, I would have seen some of this, but I saw it online. I was reading about it. Anything else before I go on? So anything else?
No, no? I'm listening man. I'm following along. A little more backstory
on Neely. He was a well known street performer who impersonated Michael Jackson and Sal and the photos I saw. He looked the part he absolutely look the part so someone's got mental health and the living on the streets. That's not a good combination. But these photos he looked bright eyed, young, just energetic like a guy in front of grommets. You know, they just sit in front of Brahmins and they get tips to be in photographs. One of those guys he looks good, he looks clean cut. And just you know, I don't know how far back the photos went. But I'm like God, it's the same guy. And more on the tragic side, nearly had been previously arrested 44 times for multiple assaults, attempted child abduction, drugs and indecent exposure. Officials say that he had at least 43 cases of an aided case or mental health care workers took him in for treatment. I'd never heard of that before. So I do
know, okay, aidid case? No. I mean, I've heard a 5150 where someone's put on a psychiatric hold, okay, so that they don't harm themselves or others, but I haven't heard of something called an aided case. Yeah, nor had
I. And the day before his unfortunate death, he was under investigation for pushing someone on the tracks, I'm assuming that the subway tracks, and he had an arrest warrant for a violent attack on an older woman. So he was probably going down a spiral. And now you're on the streets, there's no support. And he's got mental health issues. And this is kind of his space. He's on the subway. And if you've been in New York, I guess have you not you've not been in New York, I haven't been to Yeah. And nor would you go near a subway. If you did, once you pay to go on a subway, you can live down in the subway, you could get on other subways, you can stand it, you can't sleep on there too long, because I'm sure the cops eventually would come and get you off or a subway will also finally take a break or get to the end of the line and clear it. But you can kind of just be in that space. And it's not a very positive and healthy space to be underground. With all that B. People take it to get from A to B very quickly and get back up on the street. Yeah, so pretty tough. It's a lot to take in. It's truly sad. The video is never even get to really see Neely in the video because he's just compromised. He's in a headlock.
Yeah, he's already in the chokehold. And when we see the video, and you know, all these things about all his mental health history, all these horrible charges that he's faced, you might be guilty. And some of these might be I don't know, I'm just reporting what I've run. No, I know. But it's like, it almost like is completely irrelevant, though. Like for that day on that train in that moment. Yeah, whatever went on in either of these guys past in anyone's past is irrelevant to that very moment as to because again, I have to pay everybody keeps bringing up, Neil. He's backstory. But nobody's bringing up Penny's backstory.
Yeah, and it doesn't help and not that we want to glorify this. But in the video, if you watch the video, Neely is a black male, 30 years old, and Penny is a white male, 24 years old. Now. I'm sure the press media could run with that if they wanted to. And a this is a race thing. I have my own stance on that. I think it's an incredibly unfortunate incident and no one's talking about Penny's mental health. It's a really astute point. Really good point you bring up and maybe that will come to light. But one of the other people helping Penny look like Minority as well could have been Hispanic, Mexican, black. I don't know. But so it's not like, we never got a good vantage point of the subway. And it's not like people were stopping penny from what was going on from this 15 minute hold. Everyone was kind of like, oh, okay, you know, we don't really know. So you could ask 12 Angry Men and like that great film and like, what do you think? And they probably weren't going around pulling people, but I'm sure not everybody was in lockstep, but they're not going to go then fight the guy that's helping defend, you know, it's like, it's so complicated on countless levels,
especially from your vantage point, especially from where you walked in on the scene, especially from where you're watching the video. I mean, even the person that took the video was kind of conflicted. Totally Well, I don't think it should have been this way maybe he could have. So bystanders still have different interpretations of the actual event but one thing is for certain is be very careful putting a chokehold on and be very careful about never getting into caught in a chokehold. Yeah, just yeah, just stay away from these types of situations. And one of those things that you can do is stay off the subway.
Okay, this is an anti subway podcast. Well, that they taught us that in hapkido, like not the kill shots. Yes, you do learn those. But get someone in an armbar get someone in a wrist lock. Yeah, that's not going to kill them. But it hurts it if you have total control over that person. It's subdues them it's done, and they don't want to go any further. And of course, that's clear headed and it's training and you might be taught one way to submit my chokehold, and unfortunately, that was the case here.
And just just to be clear, to the uninitiated, what a chokehold does is you put pressure on the neck and it cuts blood flow to the brain. Yeah, that's what it does. That is what happens in a neck chokehold.
So now there's some statements and again, I just got these today. They were a few days ago, but put them in our notes for us, but you'll read the first one anyway, Daniel Penny's statement, courtesy of his attorneys, I'm Leave so Sal,
we would first like to express on behalf of Daniel Penny. Our condolences to those close to Mr. Neely. Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness. When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with help of others, acted to protect themselves until help arrived. Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely, and could not have foreseen his untimely death. For too long those suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference. We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways. There's the subway.
Ah, yeah. And
then you see the rebuttal, though, and you get to see what the Neeley side had to say. Yeah. Which I think makes sense as well.
Yeah, I mean, it's obviously well crafted by an attorney. And, you know, what are they gonna say, in my heart? I don't think the intent was ever to kill. But there's so many factors. That's it's bad judgment, honestly. Yeah, hold them down, hold them in any other hold. If you have to, once you're holding someone down to sell, the last thing they probably want to do is let that person up, right? But it's the choking. It's knowing what that's going to do cut off air. People can't survive that way. And it's amplified those who've ever been in a fight or some sort of a heated exchange. adrenaline is pumping. I'm sure everyone on that car was just overwhelmed and penny more than anyone else. He's like, What have I got myself into? I'm not letting go. And you're not even making good decisions anymore. So it's just you've put yourself in this bad situation. So absolutely at fault. Probably didn't mean to kill, but did right. Did the intent, I would say probably not, but people could argue that, but did. And Neely, obviously his track record is checkered. You know, he's gotten away with that type of thing before that behavior. And it's a bigger fundamental problem, if people in need are just left to scrounge around on the subway and threaten people here and there, and everyone just kind of lets it happen. You know, in plain sight. Hey, man, I was just in New York. This is a thing. I live in Los Angeles for a long time. It's a thing. You're there all the time. It's a major, major problem.
I've experienced that myself. Jason. I live in in Los Angeles. And Hank, just like a year ago, I remember I was just back in town from a road trip. hadn't been in town. 24 hours. And I'm walking down Lankershim. Yep. And this transient, derelict guy comes up and just starts yelling right in my face. I'm not going to tell you what he said. Yeah, right in my face at me, man. Well, you know, I just keep walking. Get away. There's no one walking. What am I supposed to do with this guy? You know, I was kept kept moving. I had something
similar happen. I was going to a recording session at Gower studios to see a friend and then see this guy composing this movie. Same thing, this guy comes up to me I have a coffee. And he is just on something and he's in my space. And I was just like, I did like a juke move and just went inside there's no winning this I'm not gonna stand here and battle with you or try to rationalize with you. He was somewhere else. And speaking of which salad This is pertinent to you. I do recall one point in time you were coming to visit me years ago at the LA athletic club downtown my gym. And that address is like either I it south all of but maybe on your map. It was kind of vague. And you are calling me like I'm in Skid Row. Where is this place? Yeah,
I remember that day I started started stepping over people. And you know, it's one thing I don't mean to laugh. No, no, but let me tell you, you know, I grew up in a certain neighborhood. I've seen certain things growing up in Los Angeles. It's one thing if you're around the homeless population, that's one thing. Yeah. It's one thing if there then you start to see elements of danger. You know, so like, look, believe me? Yes. Live in LA, you're gonna pass by homeless. It's gonna happen. It's gonna happen. But yeah, I don't necessarily think I'm in danger, necessarily. But I remember that moment when I was going at you or Yeah, I remember there was a couple of guys lifted me they were looking at me because they wanted something from me. And I had my phone new iPhone in my hand, you know, at the time, and I said, No, I gotta get out of here. This is not safe. And that's when you're, you know, that's when the bells go off. The ringers go off. You're like I gotta get out of here. Yeah, so anybody I think that's the fight or flight. Well, I'm not gonna fight. No, I need to flight.
Years later, I would come see you at Skid Row studios. Ironically. Yeah, but not on Skid Row.
Yeah, the radios station name the studio Skid Row studios as an homage to the nearby Skid Row community. Yeah.
So this is Jordan Neely is family making a public statement and rebuttal to Penny statement. Daniel Penny's press release is not an apology, nor an expression of regret. It is a character assassination and a clear example of why he believed he was entitled to take Jordans life. And the first paragraph he talks about how good he is. And in the next paragraph, he talks about how bad Jordan was in an effort to convince us Jordans life was worthless. The truth is, he knew nothing about Jordans history, when he intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordans neck and squeezed and kept squeezing. Who that's really tough. And there's more. His family went on to say that Penny's actions on the train and the subsequent press release, spoke to his indifference toward nearly his life, and show why he needs to be in prison.
You know, Jason, there's something that you don't hear much anymore, and we used to hear about it. And that was manslaughter. We don't hear that expression use much anymore. And the idea behind manslaughter was that you caused someone's death accidentally, you did not mean to kill them, but you accidentally killed somebody so people could have a manslaughter charge, which was especially prevalent in automotive accident, exactly, they would face a mass law.
That would come up a lot.
Even if you believe that penne did not mean to kill nearly Okay, fine, I'll buy that he didn't mean to kill him. But he did cause his death. Therefore he should there be some accountability under a manslaughter charge that would get you at least one or two years behind bars or probation, or some sort of punishment, because we're not for you. Conceivably, this person would still be alive.
Exactly. And that is why this is on. That's a crime. You initially before we started recording said, Hey, there's not really a crime here. Well, it's a homicide, and someone was killed. So there's a crime enough for me to want to cover it on this episode on this show. But I think there could be more coming. This is a very fluid situation. There's I don't know if the protest demonstrations are still going on, likely so and whatever happens that this week with the grand jury, it could ignite more. I don't know what we have on our hands here. This is one of those things. I don't want there to be riots by any means. But I hope change comes. I don't know the current situation of the police staffing. And if they've had cut back, I don't know. But something's got to be done to monitor the situation. stop them from happening. Hey, listen, there's cameras everywhere in the world now. Very inexpensive cameras, ring cameras, blink cameras, phones, camera up the subways, this camera him up. And so he always monitoring and you can act immediately. If it's a situation. He had him in a headlock for 15 minutes and all the passengers sitting there. It's like, that is far too long. Like we need faster response time. And then there's the homeless issue, which in mental health, there's this this is loaded, Sal, there's so much to unpack here. And we're just scratching the surface and just covering this one incident. But we will keep our eyes on it and see how this thing plays out. For sure.
And I hope that Jordan Neely is spending some time with what could possibly be his idol Michael Jackson. Yeah. In heaven. Rest in peace. Jordan Neely. Yeah, he's obviously had a hard life leading up to this. Yeah. So rest in peace. And I hope that you finally get some consolation to your suffering.
So that covers it the True Crime Story of the New York City subway passenger kills, unhinged man with deadly chokehold and 2023. Like I just said, we'll follow the events of this case. And we will be back with more crime sell some lighter. I know you prefer the light stuff, but we do mix it up here. We never know these things are relevant. And we've kind of fall into this groove or I have anyway, of the more recent crimes. Yes. And I think I've mentioned this before, maybe we'll do a classic. I say classic. It's hard to embellish a crime but a well known older crime and the newer crimes, you could just do crimes everyday. You could do 10 crimes a day, unfortunately. But that's the that's what happens in this space.
Jason was interesting is on this show. That's a crime that we're spending time in the newer realm. Whereas on our other show, let's talk Cobra Kai. We're spending time in the older realm the world of Karate Kid specifically as opposed to the world of Cobra Kai specifically so like over there your retro over here your new
Oh, we just fell into this groove. We've done some classic crimes. I'm in our first crime DB Cooper. Incredible hijack heist. We've done the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping. So initially, I was thinking oh yeah, the classics. Do you start to research crime and man, these things are popping up and they're just so relevant. So I think a one two punch, you know, you can have the classics and then have more modern or have another show who knows there's it's endless owl. It's endless, unfortunately,
I feel like also crimes like this are sort of one of the call mile markers in society in history that show you just kind of how things are out there. It's not pretty. No, you look at it, you're like, This is not a good situation. But that's what's going on out there stuff like this happens. We're still working, we're still working as a species to to get good. I mean, you know, we're we're relatively new as a species on planet Earth. We're still doing our best. And stuff like this just reminds us hey, we're still learning and we're still growing.
Well said, Sal, well said, well, hopefully we'll be back for more episodes if we don't blow up the planet. In the meantime, I have hope. So thank you so much for listening. And please be sure to subscribe to the that's a crime podcast and the that's a crime YouTube Live Channel. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast.
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