New York (PIX11) — Multiple arrests were made Saturday after protesters suspended subway service on a train line in Manhattan for close to an hour, as they called for justice in the subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely.
According to an MTA official familiar with the matter, the first reports of people entering the subway tracks were received at around 6 p.m.
Train operators reported seeing people on the tracks ahead of a Q train entering the Lexington-63rd Street station. About 450 passengers were aboard the train.
Just before 6:30 p.m., the power to that station was removed.
Authorities were able to clear tracks after about 20 minutes and power was restored to the station, allowing trains to proceed.
“Jumping on tracks is dangerous, reckless, and can be life-threatening,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement. “While peaceful protest has always been part of the American fabric, endangering transit workers and other responders, while also delaying New Yorkers just trying to get where they need to go, by deliberately risking contact with an electrified third rail, is unacceptable.”
Full service was restored a few minutes before 7 p.m.
The protest came amid days of unrest as protesters call for justice in Jordan Neely’s death. Neely was a 30-year-old homeless man who died on Monday after being placed in a chokehold on the subway by another subway rider, Daniel Penny, an ex-Marine, according to city officials.
The medical examiner’s office ruled Wednesday night that Neely, 30, died by compression of the neck. His death was ruled a homicide, but the medical examiner’s office said any determination about criminal culpability would be left to the legal system.
Penny was initially taken into custody and questioned by police but he was released the same day without charges. The NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office continue to investigate whether charges should be filed.
Penny’s lawyers released a statement on Friday, saying their client was protecting himself after Neely threatened him and other passengers.
“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,” said his lawyers, Thomas Kenniff and Steven Raiser. “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”
The NYPD would not comment on how many arrests had been made during Saturday’s protest at the subway station but did confirm a number of people were arrested in connection to the incident.
Demonstrators said they will continue to protest until Penny is charged.