Only struggle can bring justice: The lyncher of Jordan Neely must be punished

Only struggle forced Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to charge Daniel Penny ― the killer of Jordan Neely ― with manslaughter. The white vigilante Penny choked to death Neely, a Black homeless man, on a New York City subway train on May 1.

The 15-minute-long strangulation was recorded on video and seen by millions. Even the medical examiner ruled the death of Jordan Neely to be a homicide.

Yet the ex-Marine Penny was let go by the cops at the subway station. New York City Mayor Eric Adams denounced not the killer but those who rightfully described Neely’s death as murder and a lynching.

Why wasn’t Penny taken to Rikers Island prison like the Black teenager Kalief Browder was? Accused of stealing a backpack, Browder spent almost three years in Rikers because he couldn’t afford bail. Browder’s charges were dropped, but he was so traumatized that he hanged himself two years later in 2015.

Jordan Neely’s death by the ex-U.S. Marine Corps sergeant was no accident. The Amsterdam News quoted Bill Dores’ Facebook post:

Chokeholds kill. Cops are no longer allowed to use them. They stop blood flow to the brain. At 1 minute brain cells start to die, 3 minutes permanent brain damage, 5 minutes death. USMC-trained martial artists know that.”

It took 11 days after Jordan Neely’s death for Daniel Perry to be charged with second-degree manslaughter. Many people believe that Perry should have been charged with murder.

District Attorney Bragg had to be compelled to bring any charges. So while Jordan Neely’s killer was walking free, police arrested those protesting the attempted cover-up.

The series of demonstrations that demanded justice for Jordan Neely reflected the anger of millions.

These protests included a May 6 action at the Lexington and 63rd Street subway station, where people jumped on the tracks, halting trains. Earlier demonstrations included hundreds of people marching from Brooklyn across the Manhattan Bridge.

New York no different than Georgia

Labor Against Racist Terror spokesperson Johnnie Stevens compared the killing of Jordan Neely to the 2020 murder of the Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

“The local Brunswick, Georgia, prosecutor refused to indict the white vigilantes who lynched Ahmaud Arbery,” said Stevens. “It took a long struggle by the local and national movement that forced the authorities to do anything.”

Jordan Neely was killed as homeless people are constantly being demonized by the corporate media. Migrants are being targeted by the super-bigot Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Mayor Adams has ordered police to hound poor people on the subways. Cops have attacked homeless encampments.

Meanwhile, the family of Manuel “Manny” Mayi is still waiting for his killers to be indicted. The 18-year-old Dominican honor student was lynched by a white racist mob on March 30, 1991, in Corona, Queens, New York City.

Some of Mayi’s killers may have become police officers.

“The labor movement needs to take a stand against this racist terror,” said Johnnie Stevens. “We have to stand in solidarity with the migrants and all those being attacked.”

Frederick Douglass was right when he declared that “without struggle there is no progress.” Only mass struggle can stop the lynchings and police killings.

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