LEONARD GREENE: No need to demonize Jordan Neely because of his criminal history

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It’s about time.

How’s a man supposed to rest in peace when the guy accused of choking the life out of him on the filthy floor of a subway train was walking around free as a Central Park pigeon?

Finally, bad Samaritan Daniel Penny was arrested two weeks after the chokehold death of Jordan Neely, 30, a menacing homeless man who was threatening passengers and throwing stuff at them on a Manhattan train.

Penny, 24, a Marine veteran, tried to play the hero and took it upon himself to come to the rescue of his fellow passengers.

Never mind there were no indications that Neely had laid a finger on anyone.

Oh, Penny’s cheerleaders will say the passengers were in peril because of Neely’s violent criminal history.

Neely has been arrested 42 times in the last 10 years, most recently in November 2021 for slugging a 67-year-old female stranger in the face as she exited a subway station.

He had a history of mental illness.

Penny had no way of knowing any of that before he got on the train.

But Penny’s defenders keep bringing up Neely’s record as though it gave Penny license to put his arm around Neely’s neck and squeeze until he died.

It didn’t.

It’s true, Neely was no altar boy. But that’s the same thing they said about Patrick Dorismond after undercover NYPD cops shot the unarmed man to death in Manhattan.

Dorismond, 26, a security guard and father of two, scuffled with the cops near Madison Square Garden after they accused him of being a drug dealer.

Officials said Dorismond’s accused killer, Det. Anthony Vasquez, retrieved his weapon when he heard someone say, “Get his gun.”

When Dorismond grabbed at the gun, it went off and struck him in the chest with a single bullet, the officer claimed.

Vasquez was cleared of any wrongdoing.

In the aftermath of Dorismond’s death, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani authorized the release of Dorismond’s sealed juvenile criminal record, enraging the victim’s parents and much of the Black community.

Giuliani suggested that the victim’s “pattern of behavior” and his actions the night of the shooting contributed to his death.

“People have the right to know the background and record of a person involved in a criminal situation,” Giuliani said at the time, “He’s no altar boy.”

Dorismond had been arrested for robbery and assault when he was just 13. But the cop who accosted him didn’t know that before the shooting.

Just like Jordan Neely’s record, Dorismond’s past didn’t matter.

As it turned out, Dorismond, who grew up Catholic, actually had been an altar boy.

Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter, and released the same day on $100,000 bail.

But there were two others on the train who helped restrain Neely while Penny held him in a chokehold. They need to face charges, too.

Maybe now, we can stop with this post-death demonization of an obviously troubled victim.

Neely was no altar boy. Really, he wasn’t. But Penny was no hero, either.