MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) – A man who was acting erratically on a New York City subway train died after another rider put him in a chokehold, according to a witness and police.
The incident happened on a northbound F train at the Broadway–Lafayette Street/Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan on Monday around 2:30 p.m., NYPD officials said. A 30-year-old man boarded the subway train and started acting erratically, police said.
“I don’t have food, I don’t have to drink, I’m fed up … I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison … I’m ready to die,” the 30-year-old man said, according to journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who recorded video of the incident that was shared on Facebook.
The 30-year-old man was showing signs of mental illness, according to Vazquez. A 24-year-old subway rider went up to the 30-year-old man and put him in a chokehold.
Vazquez’s nearly four-minute video shows the 24-year-old subway rider holding the 30-year-old man in a chokehold on the floor of the subway train. Two other men aided the 24-year-old man at times in keeping the 30-year-old man restrained. Other bystanders on the train stood around watching as the man unsuccessfully tried to break free from the chokehold.
Around two minutes into the video, the man in the chokehold appears to stop struggling. The 24-year-old man eventually releases him from the chokehold about a minute later. The video then shows the 30-year-old man not moving on the floor of the train.
When officers responded to the scene, the 30-year-old man was unconscious, police said. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
The 24-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning but was released without being charged, officials said. Police said the investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The man’s death prompted outrage after video of the incident spread on social media. A protest was held Wednesday afternoon at the Broadway–Lafayette subway station where the incident occurred.
“NYC is not Gotham. We must not become a city where a mentally ill human being can be choked to death by a vigilante without consequence,” New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said on Twitter.
Advocates also called attention to the need for more mental health services in New York City.
“This horrific incident is yet another reminder of Governor Hochul’s and Mayor Adams’ complete failure to provide the critical mental health services desperately needed by so many people in our city,” Dave Giffen, executive director with Coalition for the Homeless, said in a statement. “What’s more, the fact that someone who took the life of a distressed, mentally-ill human being on a subway could be set free without facing any consequences is shocking, and evidences the City’s callous indifference to the lives of those who are homeless and psychiatrically unwell. This is an absolute travesty that must be investigated immediately.”