Daniel Penny, a Marine veteran, has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on charges of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the chokehold death of Jordan Neely on a subway in May.
According to witnesses, Neely was reportedly threatening other passengers when Penny, 24 years old, placed him in a chokehold to subdue him. Neely later died, leading to accusations from some on the left that Penny’s actions were motivated by racism. Neely, described by his family as a homeless man suffering from mental illness, had a history of multiple arrests on various charges.
Penny maintains that he did not intend to cause harm to Neely when he restrained him in a chokehold. In a video released on Sunday, Penny explained, “The three main threats he repeated over and over were ‘I’m going to kill you,’ ‘I’m prepared to go to jail for life,’ and ‘I’m willing to die’.”
Penny further stated, “I didn’t see a black man threatening passengers. I saw a man threatening passengers.” Juan Alberto Vazquez, a freelance journalist who witnessed the incident, supported Penny’s account, corroborating much of what he said.
Vazquez recounted, “He said he had no food, he had no drink, that he was tired and doesn’t care if he goes to jail. He started screaming all these things, took off his jacket, a black jacket that he had, and threw it on the ground.” Another witness, who chose to remain anonymous, praised Penny as a hero and criticized activists and politicians for accusing him of racism.
The woman shared, “He said, ‘I don’t care if I have to kill an F, I will. I’ll go to jail, I’ll take a bullet.’ I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘Okay, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go.’ The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives.”
“He cared for people. That’s what he did. That is his crime,” she added, referring to Penny as a hero. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Penny could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.