Jordan Neely chokehold protesters jump to electrified Manhattan subway tracks; numerous arrests reported
Protesters angry about Jordan Neely’s chokehold death took over a busy Manhattan subway stop on Saturday — with some of them jumping to the tracks near the electrified third rail, according to police and witness video.
A downtown-bound Q train carrying around 450 people stopped short of the Lexington Ave. and E. 63rd St. station after its operator saw protesters on the tracks, an MTA spokesperson said.
Police made at least seven arrests at the Upper East Side stop, witnesses said. Some of those arrested were still being processed at the scene hours later.
Videos showed a line of protesters on the station’s downtown tracks serving the F and Q trains. At least one person displayed a protest sign. One man stood atop the board that protects the third rail, which normally carries around 600 volts of electricity — enough to kill someone in an instant.
The MTA got reports of protesters on the tracks at 6 p.m., and it needed until 6:21 p.m. to shut all the power in the area, an agency spokesperson said.
The video showed the headlights of the stopped train up the tracks.
On the opposite tracks, the protesters held a train’s doors for what one witness said was 15 minutes.
“It was peaceful. We protesting, doing our thing, then the police came and told everybody to disperse,” said Desmond Marriero, 27, from the Bronx.
“And before people could move out of the way they just started arresting and attacking and grabbing people. You couldn’t really see what’s going on because the cops like to cover themselves.”
Another woman, who only wanted to be identified as Veronica, said responding officers used “excessive force” and it was an “abuse of authority.”
NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement that jumping to the tracks was “dangerous” and “reckless.”
“While peaceful protest has always been a part of 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,” Davey said.
Subway officials shut service on the F and Q lines around 6:15 p.m. Service resumed around 7 p.m.