The Marine who was seen on cellphone video putting an agitated homeless man in a fatal chokehold on the New York subway has been charged with homicide.
Daniel Penny, 24, was arraigned in a Manhattan court Friday on second-degree manslaughter charges for recklessly causing the death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old street performer who in recent years had become increasingly destitute. Penny did not enter a plea to the charge, the New York Times reported, and was released after posting bail. Prosecutors reportedly asked Penny to surrender his passport within 48 hours.
On May 1, Neely was reportedly yelling as the train was moving, screaming and saying he was hungry and thirsty. Passengers reportedly moved away from Neely, who at one point took off his jacket and threw it on the ground.
“I’m tired already,” Neely reportedly said, according to the New York Times, citing freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who captured the video. “I don’t care if I go to jail and get locked up. I’m ready to die.”
Penny, a Marine veteran raised in New York, reportedly took Neely to the floor, placing him in a chokehold. Other people are seen on the video restraining Neely’s arms at times, although Penny’s grip on Neely appears to have remained constant.
At Friday’s arraignment, Penny was described as standing straight and still as he stood before the judge, according to the Times. He was handcuffed and wearing a dark gray suit and white dress shirt, the newspaper said.
Lawyers for Penny have said that their client “never intended to harm” Neely when he wrestled him to the ground and held his arm around his neck for some 15 minutes.
The medical examiner’s office has deemed Neely’s death a homicide.
The charge of second-degree manslaughter carries a potential 15-year prison sentence. For the family of Jordan Neely, that’s the wrong charge.
“Ask yourself, ‘Is that enough?”” attorney Lennon Edwards said at a press conference Friday. “Ask yourself is that enough, is that enough for somebody who choked somebody on the train and took their life?”
Edwards said that he had urged Bragg to charge Penny with second-degree murder, which carries a potential 15 to 25 years in prison, and, in some cases, a life sentence.
“We need a full cup of justice here, and we’re asking to continue to press forward until that happens,” Edwards said at the press conference.
Edwards noted that Penny has publicly said that prior to him placing Neely in a chokehold, he saw him “ball up his fists.” Edwards questioned why this information was just coming out now, and wasn’t previously shared in statements made on Penny’s behalf.
“Watch Jordan Neely’s story get worse, according to Daniel Penny, and watching Daniel Penny’s story get better,” Edwards said. “Daniel Penny is getting a chance to rewrite what happened in that subway that day. As time goes by, he’s going to come up with more and more things that make himself look better, because that’s the only way that he can escape the consequences of what he did.”
“But he cannot rewrite how the story ends,” Edwards continued. “The story ends with his arms wrapped around Jordan’s neck, choking him to death. and that’s what he has to pay for. Those are the consequences that we cannot allow in our society. We cannot allow that type of aggression on a whim’s notice, we cannot allow that type of judgment, and we cannot allow that type of crime to happen without consequences.”
Penny’s next court date is set for July 17, NPR reported.
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Daniel Penny charged with manslaughter in Jordan Neely death
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