Jordan Neely, NYC subway rider choked to death, to be mourned at Manhattan church

Jordan Neely's death by chokehold on the New York City subway has set off a debate about the use of force by police.

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Jordan Neely's family will mourn his death in a Harlem church on Friday, after a public debate was sparked by the chokehold death of Jordan Neely while riding a subway car.

Former Michael Jackson impersonator Neely, who struggled with mental illness and homeless in recent years died on May 1, when a fellow commuter choked him for several minutes in the subway car.

An onlooker recorded the fatal struggle on video. He said Neely was yelling and begging for money at other passengers, but had not attacked anyone.

The Manhattan district attorney charged Daniel Penny with manslaughter last week after he pinned and choked Neely. Penny's attorneys claim he acted to protect himself and the other passengers when Neely began making threatening remarks.

The arrest polarized New Yorkers, as well as people from other countries. Some said that Penny, a white woman, was too hasty to use deadly force against a Black man, who posed little threat. Others said the veteran U.S. Marine Corps, 24, was protecting people on the train, and should not be punished.

Rev. Al Sharpton is a civil rights activist. The Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green is a senior minister who has had a long relationship with Neely’s family.

Green gave the eulogy for Neely’s mother at her funeral in 2007. Her boyfriend murdered her mother.

Neely was a man who struggled with disruptive behaviour. He had been arrested several times and pleaded guilt this year for assaulting a complete stranger. However, friends and family members have stated that they do not believe that he would harm anyone had Penny left him alone.