Amanda Seales Has Words For Black Passengers Who Failed To Help Jordan Neely

Comedian Amanda Seales says she “cannot understand” why no one stepped in to help after the death of Jordan Neely, especially the Black people present during the incident.

Seales, 41, took to her Instagram Live to speak out about the death of Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man who was choked to death by a white subway passenger in New York.

“I’m trying to figure out why people think this is all regular, or this is OK,” she said. “I’m trying to understand how a Black man can be murdered again in front of your face and [you can] be like ‘I mean it’s crazy on the train in New York. I cannot understand that…If I’m being honest, we’re not doing enough.”

One user commented under Seales’ live video, “You right.” Another said, “A man died on national tv again.”

Neely, known as a Michael Jackson impersonator, died last Monday after being placed in a chokehold by Daniel J. Penny, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran,  minutes according to police reports. Penny has not been charged with any crimes.

A passenger on the train, Juan Alberto Vazquez, said Neely complained about being “fed up and hungry,” according to CNN. Neely also said he was “tired of having nothing” and that “I don’t care if I die. I don’t care if I go to jail. I don’t have any food … I’m done,” according to Vazquez. He said no passengers were attacked by Neely before he was restrained and put in a deadly chokehold, according to NPR.

Rolling Stone reported that New York Mayor Eric Adams said on CNN,

“We have so many cases where passengers assist other riders. We don’t know exactly what happened here until the investigation is thorough,” New York City Mayor told CNN, according to Rolling Stone. “…We cannot just blanketly say what a passenger should or should not do in a situation like that,” when asked about passengers intervening in matters such as this.

The video of Neely being restrained has struck a nerve in the Black community, including Seales, as the death of another Black man is televised.

Concerns about how homeless people and people with mental illnesses are treated also surfaced. Vocal-NY echoed Seales’ concerns in a statement, “The murder of Jordan Neely is a direct result of the sustained political, systemic abandonment and dehumanization of people experiencing homelessness and mental health complexities…any semblance of justice here requires accountability and a reversal of Adams’ austerity budget and (Governor Kathy) Hochul to stop blocking progressive policy in Albany.”