Daniel Penny back in court over NYC subway chokehold death

 January 21, 2024

Daniel Penny, a former Marine involved in the May 1, 2023 incident where he subdued mentally ill homeless man Jordan Neely on a New York City subway, leading to Neely's death, is slated to return to a New York City court on Tuesday.

Penny has filed a motion seeking the dismissal of charges, asserting that Neely's behavior on the uptown train was excessively threatening.

The charges

Facing second-degree manslaughter charges and criminally negligent homicide, Penny, under prosecution by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office, has maintained his plea of not guilty.

A fundraising campaign has been initiated to assist with Penny's legal expenses.

In June, Penny publicly shared his perspective on the incident, emphasizing that he intervened to "protect passengers."

The incident

Despite law enforcement indicating that Neely wasn't directly threatening anyone at the time of Penny's intervention, Penny described Neely's repeated threats during the encounter, including statements like "I'm going to kill you," "'I'm prepared to go to jail for life," and "I'm willing to die."

Penny characterized the situation as "scary" and expressed concern for his own safety, emphasizing that he couldn't remain passive considering the presence of women and children on the train.

Addressing misconceptions, Penny clarified that the entire interaction lasted less than five minutes, refuting claims that he attempted to choke Neely to death and asserting that his intention was to restrain him.

Eyewitness accounts

Witnesses echoed Penny's account, expressing gratitude for his protection after an incident they described as "absolutely traumatizing."

Witnesses conveyed their fear of Neely, who was making threats against passengers, including declaring his intent to kill a passenger. Penny, 24 years old at the time of the encounter, faces manslaughter charges for allegedly placing Neely in a chokehold on the floor of the uptown train.

The incident was captured on cell phone footage, which subsequently went viral, prompting activists to assert racial motivations given that Neely was black, and Penny is white.

Neely's documented mental health issues were known to the NYPD, with a warrant for his arrest at the time of his death due to assaulting an elderly woman on the subway. He was also accused of pushing a woman onto the subway tracks.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the case has garnered attention for its complexities, touching on issues of self-defense, public safety, and the intersection of mental health and law enforcement interactions.

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