Selective Outrage Over NYC Subway Chokehold Death Exposes Hypocrisy of AOC and Others

On Monday, 30-year-old Jordan Neely died on the New York City subway after his erratic behavior led a straphanger, 24-year-old Marine veteran Daniel Penny, to put him in a chokehold. The city medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide – though no charges have been filed against Penny as of yet.

Progressive politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have wasted no time publicly calling the incident a “public execution” and stating that Neely was “murdered” despite the fact that they have been virtually radio silent on the other violence that has taken place in the subway system in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday’s show, Megyn and Mark Steyn, host of the The Mark Steyn Show, took a closer look at the reaction to Neely’s death and the realities about his past that AOC and others have failed to mention.

What Happened on the F Train

The fatal interaction between Neely and Penny on a northbound F train was caught on video by freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who posted it on Facebook. Vazquez told the New York Post that Neely started screaming that he had no food, was tired, and didn’t care if he went to prison. He also took off his jacket and threw it on the floor. 

It was at that point that Vazquez said Penny came up behind Neely and put him in a chokehold that he remained in for some 15 minutes. The video shows Neely seemingly fighting back as at least two other riders attempt to help restrain him. When the train arrived at the Broadway-Lafayette Street/Bleecker Street station, 911 was called. While in the chokehold, Neely lost consciousness and was unable to be revived by medical personnel. 

Penny was taken into custody but released without charges. Neely’s death has since been ruled a homicide, and it is unclear if that will lead to Penny facing charges.

Neely’s History of Mental Illness and Crime

Politicians like AOC have seemingly already made up their minds about what transpired. On Wednesday, the congresswoman was ready to put a label on the death. “Jordan Neely was murdered,” she tweeted. “But [because] Jordan was houseless and crying for food in a time when the city is raising rents and stripping services to militarize itself while many in power demonize the poor, the murderer gets protected [with] passive headlines [and] no charges. It’s disgusting.”

“It wasn’t a murder,” Megyn clarified. “A murder is an intentional killing of another, and there’s clearly no intent by this Marine to kill this man.” Moreover, AOC failed to acknowledge the circumstances that led to the chokehold. “But the thing about it is she and others intentionally ignore the fact that, for the umpteenth time, this guy Neely was on board a subway train actively threatening – not just yelling – the passengers,” she continued. “And he had hurt others on the subway before in the not too distant past.”

Neely, who was reportedly homeless at the time of his death, was once known as a subway busker who impersonated Michael Jackson, and he suffered from mental illness that required psychiatric treatment. He had an extensive RAP sheet that included at least 42 arrests in the last 10 years. He was released from prison on February 9 after serving time for assaulting a 67-year-old woman – fracturing her orbital bone, breaking her nose, and causing head injuries – in November 2021. Before that, he was arrested in June 2019 for punching a 64-year-old-man in the face during a fight in a subway station in Greenwich Village. In August 2015, Neely was arrested for attempted kidnapping after he was seen dragging a seven-year-old girl down a street. 

“This was not a well person, this was not a sweet Michael Jackson imitator,” Megyn explained. “His own grandparents, with whom he spent most of his time when he did try to find housing, would not let him inside the house at night so dangerous was he.” It is believed he had told authorities over the years that he was schizophrenic and hearing voices. “The city ultimately failed him in every single way,” she added.

The Victim Class

If you’ve seen media coverage of Neely’s death, Steyn pointed out that it paints a picture that is devoid of reality. “If you’re just haphazardly following this story in the media, the Michael Jackson impersonation stuff is the only bit you’ll take away,” he shared. “Why is that the only angle? Because it goes back there’s an approved victim class and  an approved predator class.”

In Steyn’s estimation, Neely is an automatic victim in the social justice culture progressive cities have created. Instead of a “rational system of justice,” they “all operate far more on the basic Leninist principle of ‘who, whom,'” he explained. “This is a black homeless man and so that, by definition, puts him in the victim category.”

What this system fails to take into account, however, is the safety of the general public. “You never know now in these Democrat-run cities the point at which it’s all going to go south for you,” Steyn noted. “You’ve got a split second to make a calculation about whether this guy’s just a harmless nutter or he means you ill.” Regardless of the decision you come to, you can all but guarantee there will be those who judge it. “And then somebody like AOC — from behind her entourage – gets to second-guess you,” he added. “It’s disgusting.”

Politicians’ Inconsistent Outrage

As Megyn pointed out, AOC and fellow leftist politicians like New York City Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán have been quick to express outrage over the death of Neely – though they have not always been so vocal.

In the New York Post, columnist Nicole Galinas asked where the progressive pols were for any of the 27 other people who were violently killed in the transit system since March of 2020. Councilwoman Cabán, for example, is declaring Neely was “murdered” and needed “compassion.” But when four people lost their lives on the subway in a one-month span last fall, she called it “a one-in-a-million event.”

The irony wasn’t lost on Megyn. “So, one in a million? Yeah, okay,” she said. “You don’t care about the 27 others, why? It’s solely because of the racial element.”

Steyn said the hypocrisy stems from the increasing societal divide in the U.S. “The people weighing in on this – AOC, the governor, the mayor – they’re never going to be down there in that situation,” he explained. “Unfortunately, in this country, we’re bifurcating into a Latin American-style society where there’s the ruling class behind their entourages with their private security teams and then there’s the great big mass of the rest of us who have to take our chances where we can.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Steyn by tuning in to episode 544 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.