Just three days after Jordan Neely was killed, lawmakers from here to Washington are weighing in as the backlash against the incident comes quickly.

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez called the killing a “murder,” noting that the former military veteran who strangled Neely has not yet faced charges.

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander also weighed in, saying the incident was vigilantism gone awry.

“New York is not Gotham. We must never be a city where a mentally ill person can be smothered to death by vigilantes with no consequences. Or a place where murderers are justified and cheered,” Rand said in a tweet.

what you need to know

  • Vigilante goes awry as New York politicians call Jordan Neely’s death a ‘murder’
  • Jordan Neely, a homeless black man, was strangled to death by a subway rider during his mental health crisis on Monday.
  • The incident raises questions about subway safety and the need for improved mental health resources

Other officials, including Rep. Dan Goldman (R-D.) and local lawmakers, have argued that Neely’s mental state should not have contributed to his untimely death and that more investment should be made in mental health resources.

“Mental illness should never be a death sentence, and it will still be with us in a more caring and compassionate society. We need to do a better job of addressing the mental health crisis in our city and country,” Goldman said in a statement said in the tweet.

The medical examiner’s office has ruled Neely’s death a homicide, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is investigating.

Meanwhile, some politicians want charges.

“We should not confuse accusation with guilt,” said public defender Jumaane Williams. “I think we just want to send a message so we don’t encourage behavior that could lead to that.”

Neely’s death sparked some racist sentiment.

Some say the case brings back memories of George Floyd being choked by police, while others point to similarities with the 1984 incident of Bernard Goetz, A white man shot and killed four black teenagers in a subway car because he thought they were trying to rob him.

“Is there any point in investigating this white fear? … Why don’t you show care and compassion?” said homeless advocate Shams DaBaron, also known as a “homeless hero.”

“From my perspective as a black person, is there a thought process that says what’s going on here?” he added.

Activists pointed out that Neely’s calls for food and help on the train should have been helped and resources.

“Housing is a human right,” Daballon said.

It was not immediately clear when the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office would wrap up its investigation.

At the same time, the incident has drawn attention to how struggling black and brown New Yorkers continue to be trapped in social services.

“When it’s taken away, you dehumanize the person dealing with this issue, and we cannot criminalize, demonize or further dehumanize that person,” DaBaron said.

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