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A killing on the F


To the editor:

Jordan Neely’s death is a grim reminder of some unpleasant truths. These include the failure of the Adams’ administration to provide permanent housing and appropriate medical treatment for the homeless and the mentally ill. 

The mayor took nine days before he publicly said that Neely “did not deserve to die.” Unmentioned was Daniel Penny’s deadly chokehold and that the former Marine should be charged with a crime. Part of Adams’ initial muted response was that “We cannot just blanketly say what a passenger should or should not do in a situation like that.”  It came as no surprise that Neely’s family said the mayor was not welcome at his funeral. 

At a news conference last year, Adams said that he was on the side of “innocent New Yorkers” who want to ride the subway and not fear being attacked. Why would they have this fear, unless politicians such as Adams and his Republican counterparts frightened them? There are virtually no subway riders who have experienced violence.  

Last year, the odds of being a crime victim while using public transportation were approximately 1.6 out of 1 million. Police statistics show crimes on subways and buses have basically been flat for the previous 10 years, excluding the dramatic drop in ridership during the pandemic. 

Information has been released that contradicts the version presented by Penny’s lawyers and promoted by the right-wing and tabloids such as The Daily News and The New York Post.  The public has been told that Daniel Penny was a “good Samaritan” who acted in self-defense.  Neely, however, had no weapon and no passengers were attacked. Penny grabbed him from behind and placed the victim in a chokehold.  While two men restrained Neely, Penny choked him, and continued to do so even after his body became limp.  

Yet Penny’s lawyer said he “never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.” What was the imminent danger faced by the former Marine that he had to defend himself by responding with extreme deadly force? 

On May 1, “American berserk” traveled from “The Halls of Montezuma” and “the shores of Tripoli” to the F Train at Second Avenue.

Howard Elterman


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