AOC Slams Policy Failures and Stigmatization of the Poor in Tragic Subway Death

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) recently spoke out against the harmful societal factors that contributed to the tragic death of Jordan Neely on a New York City subway last week. She attributed his death to policy decisions that left him vulnerable to people with a violent disdain for the poor.

In an interview with The Cut, Ocasio-Cortez criticized New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ neoliberal policies for creating unsafe conditions for city residents. Right-wing supporters of Neely’s killer, Daniel Penny, have claimed that Neely’s death was necessary for the safety of subway passengers. However, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that most working-class Americans are closer to Neely’s circumstances than to those of a billionaire.

Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that Neely’s last words expressed his frustration with his lack of food and shelter, demonstrating the urgent need for assistance. The congresswoman argued that Mayor Adams’ policies, which strip homeless services, reduce access to mental health and other public services, and increase criminalization through increased funding for the New York City Police Department, contribute to the suffering of people like Neely. She also criticized the mayor’s response to Neely’s death, which seemed to blame Neely for his own demise.

Ocasio-Cortez urged the Adams administration to adopt evidence-based policies to help vulnerable populations instead of pushing them further into precarious situations. She stated, “A safer city is one with fewer homeless people, not because they’ve been displaced but because they have been housed.” She also warned that justifying violence against certain groups, as seen in Adams’ statements, will only lead to more violence.

Highlighting the role of race and class in the situation, Ocasio-Cortez called for a more compassionate approach to public safety, emphasizing the need to address the root causes of poverty and homelessness. She concluded, “If the city just wants this to be a playground for the rich, that is the most dangerous outcome for all of us.”