Reverend Al Sharpton is expected to give a eulogy at the funeral of Jordan Neely, whose death at the hands of a fellow subway passenger in New York recently became the subject of headlines around the country.
The service will take place at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem on Friday.
“As we face sorrow, pain, and uncertainty in the wake of Jordan’s senseless killing, it is crucial that we come together in the spirit of healing, action, and perseverance,” said Rev. Johnnie Melvin Green, Jr., Mount Neboh’s lead pastor. “I can think of no one better, no one more equipped to meet this moment with that grace and guidance than Rev. Sharpton.”
Neely’s death occurred on May 1st around 2:30 p.m. as he boarded an F train in New York, exhibiting disruptive behavior and threatening fellow passengers. Daniel Penny, a U.S. Marine veteran, intervened by seizing Neely from behind, subduing him, and allegedly causing him to lose consciousness and ultimately pass away.
Prior to the incident, Neely had a long record of violent assaults on subway commuters in New York City. Court records reveal that the 30-year-old transient, who previously worked as a Michael Jackson impersonator, had been arrested numerous times, with his most recent charges relating to violent attacks on individuals on the subway.
Sharpton, meanwhile, has thrown his support behind Neely and his family and applauded the charges brought against Daniel Penny. In a statement Friday, Sharpton called the charges against Penny “just step one in justice” and called for the prosecution of other subway passengers threatened by Neely.
“Let’s not forget that there were three people restraining him, and it is vital that the two others are also held accountable for their actions,” Sharpton said. “The justice system needs to send a clear, loud message that vigilantism has never been acceptable.”
Penny is now facing charges of second-degree manslaughter and was released last Friday on a $100,000 bond. His team has already launched a fundraising effort that has raised $2.6 million for his legal defense. Per the description:
Daniel Penny is, a twenty-four-year-old college student and decorated Marine veteran, facing a criminal investigation stemming from him protecting individuals on a NYC subway train from an assailant who later died.
Funds are being raised to pay Mr. Penny’s legal fees incurred from any criminal charges filed and any future civil lawsuits that may arise, as well as expenses related to his defense. All contributions are greatly appreciated. Any proceeds collected which exceed those necessary to cover Mr. Penny’s legal defense will be donated to a mental health advocacy program in New York City.
Following the incident, lawyers for Penny released a statement claiming he acted in self-defense and that he “never intended to harm” Neely, while pointing to the victim’s history of violence and mental illness:
Earlier this week Daniel Penny was involved in a tragic incident on the NYC Subway, which ended in the death of Jordan Neely. We would first like to express 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 the 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.