According to a source who is familiar with the case, Jordan Neely was listed as a homeless person in dire need on a list that identified him.
Neely, the 30-year-old street performer known for his Michael Jackson impressions, was forced to the ground in a deadly chokehold after another passenger restrained him. He had started screaming that he was thirsty, hungry and had nothing to live for.
The medical examiner in New York City has ruled his death a homicide. However, the ruling does NOT determine whether or not there was an intent to kill, and that is something the criminal justice system will have to decide. The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is investigating the case and has not filed any charges.
CNN reported that Neely was on a list of NYC Department of Homeless Services' homeless people with acute needs, sometimes called the "Top 50" list, because those on the list are more likely to disappear.
Source: The list, which is not generally made public, is created in the hope that outreach groups will alert the city's department of homeless services to intervene and be on the lookout.
Source: The agency focuses on finding those who are on the list to provide them with the assistance they need.
CNN has reached out NYC DHS to get their comments.
Neely was described as a gifted dancer, who made a living by impersonating Michael Jackson in Times Square and New York's subways. According to a close friend and relative, Neely fell on hard financial times over the past few years. He was living on the streets and had mental issues after losing his mother when he was a teenager.
A law enforcement source revealed to CNN's John Miller that Neely was a notorious criminal with the New York Police Department. He had 42 arrests for charges such as petty theft, stealing, and jumping turnstiles in subways.
CNN was told by a witness that although Neely acted erratically in the subway he didn't harm anyone and they did not see him with a gun.
Lennon Edwards, the attorney for Neely's family, said: "Passengers should not die on our subways' floor."
His death occurs at a time when New York City is still grappling with fundamental issues such as a growing number of unhoused individuals and a mental illness crisis, despite the government's efforts to address the problems.
Daniel Penny is a US Marine veteran of 24 years who was the passenger that held Neely to the floor. His attorneys called it an 'awful accident'.
Penny's lawyers have stated that Neely 'aggressively threatened' passengers, and that Penny as well as others acted 'to protect themselves.
The law firm Raiser and Kenniff P.C. said that Daniel never intended to harm Neely and couldn't have predicted his untimely demise. In a Friday statement, the law firm Raiser and Kenniff, P.C. said that Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death. We hope that this terrible tragedy will lead to a renewed commitment from our elected officials in addressing the mental health crisis on streets and subways.
Protesters are continuing to demand charges against the suspects in this case, even as days pass. Demonstrators gathered in front of Bragg's offices on Friday and chanted 'Indict Daniel Penny,' 'Why is this killer free?' Some people held signs reading, 'Jordan Neely deserves better from New York.
Donte mills, an attorney for the Neely family, said, "We are seeing people killed because they rang the wrong doorbell or pulled into the wrong driveway, and yelled out in despair on the subway." We cannot allow this to happen.
Jumaane William, New York City’s public advocate, demanded that charges be filed ‘immediately.’ The office of the public advocate helps resolve complaints about government services and regulations.
He said that to say otherwise would be an equivocation, which would only serve to further a narrative devaluing the life of an African-American homeless man with mental illness and encourage a dehumanizing attitude towards New Yorkers who are in most need.