New York: Michael Jackson impersonator dies after stranglehold on New York subway

New York: Michael Jackson impersonator dies after stranglehold on New York subway

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A man who yelled at passengers on the New York subway died in a passenger's stranglehold (symbolic photo).

A man who yelled at passengers on the New York subway died in a passenger’s stranglehold (symbolic photo).

© Quelle: picture alliance/dpa

The man had a loyal fan base among commuters in the metropolis, who also worried when he went missing last year. There is indignation that the man who probably brought about his death is initially not hit with any consequences.

New York. A man who yelled at passengers on the New York subway has died in a passenger’s stranglehold. The 30-year-old died from a bruised neck, the coroner said on Wednesday in the US metropolis. Other passengers had overpowered him. One of them put him in a stranglehold until his body went limp, according to police officials and video footage of the incident.

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The deceased was known to some New Yorkers as a Michael Jackson impersonator who regularly danced at the Times Square station. On Monday afternoon (local time), he kept running screaming through the train until at least three passengers overpowered him, including a marine who pinched his neck with his arm, witnesses and police described.

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Case is classified as a homicide

Freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez released video of the altercation, which quickly went viral. It shows the soldier lying next to the 30-year-old and holding him in a headlock for several minutes. As the downed victim tries to kick free, a second passenger holds his arms tight while a third passenger presses his shoulder down. It was initially unclear why the group decided to take this action. The victim is black. It was pronounced dead shortly after the incident at a Manhattan borough hospital. Alberto Vazquez told the New York Post that the 30-year-old yelled aggressively and complained of hunger and thirst. He did not physically attack anyone. The video only starts when the man is already on the ground.

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A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney said the investigation is ongoing. The coroner classified the case as a homicide. The video of the incident provoked strong reactions from the city’s population and officials. A group of protesters called for arrests at the subway station where the man died on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Marine, who was initially identified as a white man, was arrested and then released without charge.

The incident comes at a time when the issues of homelessness and mental illness are getting a lot of public attention on the city’s streets and subways. A gun attack in the subway in April 2022 with many injuries is still very present in the collective memory. In the aftermath, Mayor Eric Adams promised to deploy additional police forces and mental health professionals to the subway network.

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Dave Giffen, executive director of homeless charity Coalition for the Homeless, blamed city and state officials for an inadequate response to a mental health crisis. “The fact that someone who has taken the life of a stressed and mentally ill person can be released with no consequences is shocking,” he said. “This is an absolute travesty that must be investigated immediately.” Several Democratic elected officials have expressed similar views. A spokesman for the mayor pointed out that much was still unclear in the case.

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Neely had a loyal following in New York

On social networks, many New Yorkers paid tribute to the dead man – Jordan Neely his name – with videos of his dance performances. The footage made it clear that he appeared to have a loyal following among the city’s commuters. Some were also worried, according to YouTube comments, when the man went missing at times last year.

Jason Williams, an actor, recalled meeting Neely when he moved to New York in 2007. The then-teenager was an agile impersonator of the “King of Pop,” raising funds while moonwalking on the subway and crooning “Billie Jean.” “He embodied the effervescent spirit of New York,” Williams said. “He was a great artist and it’s a real tragedy that he was killed so senselessly.”


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