After mounting pressures from New York politicians and constituents, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has announced criminal charges being brought against Daniel Penny, the commuter who applied a chokehold that ultimately led to the death of Jordan Neely. The charge in question, second degree manslaughter, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Daniel Penny turned himself in on Friday to answer to the charges, declining to give a comment to the media. However, his lawyer, Tom Keniff stated that Penny “turned himself in here voluntarily and with the sort of dignity and integrity that is characteristic of his dignity of service to this grateful nation.” Daniel Penny is a former marine who enjoyed a decorated career prior to the end of his service.
The arrest stems from an incident on the NYC subway on May 1st that was captured via video and made public. The video features a snippet of the ordeal, showing Jordan Neely, a well known subway performer, in a chokehold being applied by Daniel Perry from behind, while other passengers are helping to subdue him. Witness accounts say Neely came onto the train in a state of emotional disarray, yelling at and harassing passengers. His comments were described as threatening, which prompted some passengers to intervene, including Daniel Penny. Neely was held in the chokehold for about 15 minutes, which led to the need for emergency services and Jordan Neely’s death confirmed at the hospital.
In a statement from the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff, the lawyers defended Daniel Penny.
“When Mr. Penny, a decorated Marine veteran, 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.”
Opinion has been divided about what should happen to Daniel Penny, even amongst the political left. Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have essentially described the incident as an extrajudicial murder, and blamed New York City Major Eric Adams for policies that are failing the homeless. Meanwhile, the Major called Cortez’s comments irresponsible; and that he would be measuring his words carefully as the investigation is ongoing.