Jordan Neely, the mentally ill New York City man who died while having an erratic outburst, was on the city’s “top 50” list of at-risk homeless people who stood out for the severity of their troubles and resistance to help, the New York Times reported.
New York City’s Coordinated Behavioral Health Task Force monitors the city’s “most entrenched and chronic patients,” and keeps lists of those who reside on the streets and those who cause trouble in the subways.
The task force is formed of workers from New York City’s government and representatives of the nonprofit groups the city contracts with to try to address the homeless crisis.
Neely was on the task force’s “top 50” subway list and had several encounters with law enforcement and homeless-outreach workers in recent months, the Times reported.
For example, Neely was jailed in February after he assaulted a 67-year-old and broke several bones in her face. Ultimately, Neely was released under a plea deal that required him to avoid trouble for 15 months, take antipsychotic medication, not abuse drugs, and stay in a residential treatment program.
However, two weeks after his enrollment in the program, Neely “walked out of the facility and did not return,” resulting in an arrest warrant being issued.
In March, outreach workers at a Manhattan subway station contacted Neely, who was “neatly dressed and calm,” and provided him with a ride to a shelter in the Bronx, where he spent the night.
However, outreach workers on April 8 discovered him in a Coney Island subway station “wearing dirty clothes riddled with burn holes,” He also “exposed himself and urinated inside a subway car,” the Times reported.
According to the outlet:
The workers in Coney Island learned only the next day that the person they had met was a man on the Top 50 list, case notes show.
A note later filed by an outreach worker about the encounter reads prophetically: “Due to client’s aggressive behavior, he could be a harm to others or himself if left untreated and not assessed by a mental health professional.”
Under a directive issued by Mr. Adams last fall, people who are in such a severe state of psychological crisis that they are a danger to themselves or to others are supposed to be taken to a hospital for evaluation, involuntarily if necessary.
On Thursday, city councilwoman Pierina Sanchez confirmed Neely’s presence on the “top 50” list.
“Our city knew exactly who Jordan was, where he was, and what his history was. And yet we failed him,” Sanchez said.
On May 1, Neely allegedly ranted at subway passengers and threw trash at them before former marine Daniel Penny placed him in a fatal chokehold as he was trying to restrain him. Penny now faces second-degree manslaughter charges filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.