Marine and college student Daniel Penny, 24 years old, turned himself in to authorities on Friday for allegations related to Jordan Neely, a black man with a history of violence and mental health issues.
Fox News reported that Penny is accused with holding Neely in a chokehold due to Neely’s threats against fellow subway passengers, resulting in Neely’s death.
According to NBC 4 in New York, the decision to prosecute Penny came from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office. Bragg is the same district attorney who has been prosecuting former President Donald Trump recently.
Penny “is expected to be transported Friday to Manhattan Criminal Court and arraigned on one count of second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors are expected to ask for significant bail, a source told” Fox.
Despite the charges against him, tens of thousands of individuals have contributed to the legal defense fund of the former U.S. Marine.
More than 21,000 donors had contributed to the GiveSendGo account set up for Daniel Penny as of Saturday morning, less than twenty-four hours after it went live.
“All contributions are greatly appreciated. Any proceeds collected which exceed those necessary to cover Mr. Penny’s legal defense will be donated to a mental health advocacy program in New York City,” the site says.
The charges stem from an incident in the subway where Neely was observed, “making threats and scaring people,” Fox reports. “The defendant approached Mr. Neely from behind and placed him in a chokehold, taking him down to the ground,” the prosecutor said at Penny’s arraignment.
Wednesday, the medical examiner of New York City verified that Neely’s death was caused by a “chokehold.”
Penny will be charged with Manslaughter in the Second Degree, according to ABC Correspondent CeFaan Kim’s tweets. The ME categorized the incident as a “homicide,” but further legal proceedings would be required to establish intent or culpability, Conservative Brief reports, and ABC Correspondent CeFaan Kim tweeted that Penny will be charged with Manslaughter in the Second Degree.
According to freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez and a report from The New York Post, witnesses reported that Neely engaged in a hostile tirade in the subway on Monday afternoon. According to witnesses, he displayed erratic behavior and yelled that he was unconcerned about going to prison.
Penny and at least one additional passenger moved to subdue Neely, who had been arrested at least 42 times in the previous decade. But under the Democratic leadership of New York City, he never received the mental health care he appeared to require. Mayor of New York City Eric Adams stated at a press conference on Thursday that “Jordan Neely did not deserve to die,” despite Neely’s threat to other citizens.
Neely’s most recent arrest occurred in November 2021, when he was charged with felony assault for allegedly striking a 67-year-old woman in the face. The victim sustained significant injuries as a result of the assault, and Neely was subsequently imprisoned for more than a year, according to the New York Daily News.
Albert Vazquez, a freelance journalist, captured the altercation on video. “He started screaming in an aggressive manner,” Vazquez told the New York Post.
A 66-year-old witness told the New York Post that she was praying for Penny because she did not intervene until Neely’s behavior became unacceptable. “According to the witness, Neely stated, ‘I don’t care, I’ll take a gunshot, I’ll go to prison’ because he intended to murder people on the train.
Penny’s counsel released a statement late last week regarding Neely’s death, stating that their client “was involved in a tragic incident on the New York City Subway” that resulted in Neely’s death, as reported by Conservative Brief.
The statement, which was issued by Raiser and Kenniff, P.C., continued:
We would first like to express, on behalf of Daniel Penny, our condolences to those close to Mr. Neely. Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness. When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves, until help arrived. Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.
For too long, those suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference. We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways.
Penny was honorably discharged from the Marines after four years of service and has been a “pillar of the community,” Penny’s attorney Thomas Kenniff argued in court. Fox reported that Kenniff stated the young man acted to defend himself and other passengers who were threatened.
Penny, who turned himself in and was cooperating with authorities, will graduate from college next week and has spent his entire existence in New York City, according to his attorney.