Daniel Penny, a former Mariner, put a man called Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold on the New York City subway last week. He will surrender to face criminal charges on Friday, law enforcement sources said, as per The New York Post.
“We can confirm that Daniel Penny will be arrested on a charge of Manslaughter in the Second Degree. We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place tomorrow,” a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the case, said according to ABC News.
Penny is 24 years old. If he surrenders, the ex-Mariner will be arrested on charges of second-degree manslaughter. It could carry a jail term of up to 15 years.
A video of Penny choke holding Neely was circulated on social media. The latter died on May 1.
A statement from law firm Raiser and Kenniff said that Penny ‘stepped in to protect himself and his fellow New Yorkers, his well-being was not assured’.
“He risked his own life and safety, for the good of his fellow passengers. The unfortunate result was the unintended and unforeseen death of Mr. Neely.”
Several social media painted Penny as a hero.
Neely was homeless at the time of his death. Some witnesses reportedly told police that Neely was yelling and harassing passengers on the train, authorities said.
Police sources told ABC News that Penny was not specifically being threatened by Neely when he intervened and that Neely had not become violent and had not been threatening anyone in particular.
In an earlier statement, Penny’s attorneys offered “condolences to those close to Mr. Neely” and claimed “Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel,” and that the Marine veteran and others “acted to protect themselves.”
“Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness,” said the statement from the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff. “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.”
In footage of the incident, Penny can be seen holding Neely in a chokehold for nearly 3 minutes, as another man held down Neely’s body.
“Jordan Neeley wasn’t an innocent victim. He was the perpetrator. Daniel Penny isn’t a murderer. He’s a hero. Stop confusing terms. Career criminals who prove themselves to be unfit for polite society, who terrorize, brutalize, assualt, and threaten harm on others should never…” a Twitter user said.
Some alleged that Neely was threatening the train passengers. He did not attack anyone and did not even speak with Penny, but the latter acted in defense. Twitter users have shared an alleged video of passengers cheering the 24-year-old.
Raiser and Keniff further stated that Neely had a history of ‘violent and erratic behavior’. They also brought up unrelated mental illnesses.
“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.”