NEW YORK (PIX11) — A protester who is one of five wanted by the NYPD says the capitalist system failed Jordan Neely.

“They’re bringing up charges against me for protesting,” the protester, who did not want to be named, told PIX11 in an interview Wednesday afternoon. 

His interview came a few hours after the NYPD announced he is wanted in connection to an incident on Saturday which resulted in suspended subway service for an hour and left 450 passengers stranded aboard a Q train.

Savohn Thomas, 24, as well as 27-year-old Christopher Silver, 24-year-old Brenna Lipset, 23-year-old Kahlil Greene, and 31-year-old David Ingram are wanted for jumping onto the subway tracks at the Lexington-63rd Street station, and criminal trespassing, the NYPD said. 

“We have a First Amendment right; this is literally so outrageous,” the protester said. “They are bringing up charges against me for protesting but a murderer is walking free on the streets … This is so outrageous; Black lives and homeless lives matter.”

The incident that sparked the protests

Ex-marine Daniel Penny, 24, placed 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a homeless man, in a chokehold after he was allegedly displaying erratic behavior and threatening passengers aboard an uptown F train, according to police and Penny’s attorneys. 

Penny along with two other riders held Neely down for an undetermined amount of time. By the time Penny set Neely free, he was unconscious. 

Neely was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. His death was ruled a homicide by the city medical examiner. 

Penny was initially brought in for questioning by the NYPD, but was later let go without charges. No arrests have been made following the incident. 

The protests 

A number of protests have been held, calling for justice in Neely’s death and urging the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to bring charges against Penny. The first protest took place at the Broadway-Lafayette subway station a few days after Neely died. Though some demonstrations have remained peaceful, others have escalated to violence. The NYPD found items needed to make a molotov cocktail at one demonstration. 

Protesters continue to issue warnings of civil unrest and more protests until charges are brought. 

Charges for protesters 

On Wednesday, as the NYPD announced they were looking for more suspects for halting subway service, PIX11 News learned that two of the 14 protesters arrested on Saturday were initially charged with terrorism: tampering, unlawful interference with a train, obstructing governmental administration, and criminal trespassing, according to the NYPD.

When asked about the terrorism charge, the district attorney’s office did not comment but instead said Kimberly Bernard, 33, and 23-year-old Kiara Williams were arrested and released on their own recognizance. The charge of terrorism: tampering was dropped. 

They are charged with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree and criminal trespassing in the third degree, according to the district attorney’s office.

Response from officials 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said his office is looking into whether charges should be filed in the death of Neely. 

Mayor Eric Adams has not commented directly on the district attorney’s investigation and instead spoke Wednesday about the mental health crisis in New York City. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul has said that Neely’s death was a wake-up call in the fight to get more resources for mental health.

The White House also released a statement:

“Jordan Neely’s killing was tragic and deeply disturbing. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones. We firmly believe that the events surrounding his death demand a thorough investigation.”