The former Marine who choked 30-year-old Jordan Neely before his death on a New York subway has released a statement saying he acted in self-defense and that he “never intended to harm the former Michael ‘. Jackson impersonator.
“Earlier this week, Daniel Penny was involved in a tragic incident on the NYC Subway that ended in the death of Jordan Neely. First of all, on behalf of Daniel Penny, we would like to express our condolences to Mr. Neely’s loved ones,” the press release begins.
Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of a persistent 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 himself, until help arrived. Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.’
“For too long, people with mental illness have been treated indifferently. We hope that out of this terrible tragedy will emerge a new commitment from our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways,” it concluded.
The statement was issued Friday night through the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff. Neely’s death occurred on Monday.
Former Marine Daniel Penny has been questioned by police in connection with Neely’s death but has not been charged with a crime
The case involving the former Marine and the 30-year-old homeless man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia is likely to go to a grand jury hearing for criminal charges.
It is not known when the grand jury will be convened nor what charges District Attorney Alvin Bragg is likely to file.
According to a separate report by ABC New York, the case is likely to be heard as early as next week. The man who put Neely in the chokehold was previously named as Penny, 24, of Long Island, New York.
The ABC report notes that it is “typical” for prosecutors to take their time in complex cases before summoning the jury.
Detectives on the case have spoken to about six witnesses who saw the outage and are trying to talk to about four or five more.
Penny is questioned by the police and released. According to reports, he said he had no intention of killing Neely and had tried to restrain him until the police arrived.
Earlier this week, the medical examiner’s office ruled Neely’s death a “homicide,” but it remains to be seen whether a grand jury will rule it as a criminal act.
Friday afternoon was the third day in a row of protests calling for Penny’s arrest. Activists gathered in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park to demonstrate.
Protesters held signs reading “Justice for Jordan Neely” and “Being poor is not a crime.”
Local protest organizers called the act a “lynching” and an example of “white vigilance” against victims of color.
Neely was a Michael Jackson impersonator whose mental health had deteriorated in recent years, according to his family
New York City Mayor Eric Adams cited mental health issues as a factor in the incident, but said he would not comment further during the investigation.
Also on Friday, Neely’s family called for Penny’s arrest, saying they want to “see him behind bars.”
“The family is outraged by what happened,” said Lennon Edwards, one of their lawyers.
He told TMZ: “The family feel that the justice system is failing them at this time.
“It really took too long for this to be determined to be murder. It was clear from the start. You watch the video, it tells you that.
“The coroner’s office came back and said death by pressure on the neck. That’s obvious – you see that stranglehold.’
Edwards said the video was extremely distressing for the family to watch.
“You watch this video and the family watched this video and they are in tears. Every conversation we have with them – there is not a dry eye.
“And literally, they want justice.”
Edwards added: “They want Jordan’s killer prosecuted. They want to see him in prison, behind bars.’
Penny’s lawyer tells DailyMail.com that they have reached out to the DA and NYPD to work together.
Neely had been arrested 42 times in the past, including for punching a 67-year-old woman in the face. But New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke for many when she said his criminal past was irrelevant.
“Do leaders want to improve his record as if it justifies a public execution in the subway?” she tweeted. “What did we come up with?”
Edwards agreed that his ancestry shouldn’t matter, and neither should his rants on the subway.
Protesters on Broadway last night after Neely’s death was ruled a homicide
During the protest, activists chanted, “F*** Eric Adams!” and ‘black lives matter’
“You don’t kill someone because you’re uncomfortable,” he said.
“You feel uncomfortable talking to your boss: You feel uncomfortable talking to a lot of people in the course of your day.”
“If we stick to what happened here, we have someone who started with — and the order is important here — the first statement we’ve heard from his mouth, from witnesses, is that he said, ‘I’m hungry.’
‘That is the problem.’
Edwards noted that Neely was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt, which made it “clearly visible whether someone is armed or not.”
Neely was not armed.
He was approached from behind and immediately put into a choke hold. This is not a reasonable response to something that has happened before.
“Some have used the word unhinged — well, who is really unhinged when you look at this incident? It’s the man who killed him – everyone should have been afraid of that.’
Edwards said Penny was acting as a vigilante.
“This is clearly the mindset of someone who says I’m taking the law into my own hands. I am taking this situation into my own hands.
“And I think it was less about protecting the people on the train and more about how he felt about the person he had his arms around.”
The first footage showed Penny holding Neely in a stranglehold while two other men held his arms, but not the moment when Penny released him.
Witnesses say Neely, who was schizophrenic, was acting erratically, throwing garbage and screaming that he wanted to ‘die’ or ‘go to jail’ because he was tired of not having food.
A longer video released Friday shows the three minutes and 52 seconds after the train pulled into Broadway Lafayette station at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
The footage begins with Penny already holding Neely in a stranglehold. For two minutes and five seconds, Neely struggled to the floor, swinging his feet.
He fell limp after two minutes and six seconds, when a passer-by had boarded the train.
The man – who can be heard but not seen – warned Penny that Neely had defecated, which he believed was a sign he was dying.
“He’s insulted himself … you’re going to kill him now,” he said.
Another man who helped Penny restrain Neely replied that it was an old stain on Neely’s pants and that Penny was no longer ‘pinching’.
‘Isn’t he squeezing? Okay. Because after he relieves himself, that’s it. You must let him go,’ he replied.
He then warned of a ‘murder charge’.
The second man turned to Neely and said, “Hey, can you hear me?”
The man met a hush and told Penny to get up.
Penny says nothing, but lets go of Neely and jumps to her feet.
The unknown bystander is heard to say, “That was one hell of a stranglehold, man.”
In the next few seconds, Penny and the other man who had helped him try to put Neely in the side position.
After three minutes and 50 seconds, Neely appears to convulse or take a deep breath.
The video ends after three minutes and 52 seconds. It is unclear whether he has moved again.
In a statement on Thursday, a spokesman for the prosecution said: “This is a solemn and serious case that ended in the tragic loss of Jordan Neely’s life.
“As part of our rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the medical examiner’s report, review all available video and photo footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and obtain additional medical records.
“This investigation is being conducted by senior, experienced prosecutors and we will provide an update when there is additional public information to share.
“The Manhattan DA’s Office encourages anyone who witnessed or has information about this incident to call 212-335-9040.”