May 12, 2023

Daniel Penny surrenders to police over chokehold death of Jordan Neely

Daniel Penny

A former United States Marine, Daniel Penny who placed another passenger in a fatal chokehold on the New York subway has surrendered to police to face a manslaughter charge.

Daniel Penny, 24, is accused of causing the death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely in a train carriage on 1 May.

According to BBC, his lawyers said he could not have known his actions to subdue Neely would lead to his death.

Neely, who was homeless, was pinned to the ground and restrained for several minutes in a train carriage.

He had been shouting at other subway passengers and asking for money in the subway car, witnesses said.

Neely was later found unconscious in the carriage and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. His death resulted from compression of the neck, the city’s medical examiner ruled.

BBC said Penny was initially questioned by police and then released on the day of Neely’s death.

But footage of the altercation filmed by a bystander set off protests, and the Manhattan district attorney’s office soon launched an investigation.

The video, captured by a freelance journalist on the train, shows the former Marine holding Neely around the neck for two minutes and 55 seconds.

On Friday, Penny arrived in a black SUV at the 5th Precinct in lower Manhattan just after 08:00 local time.

Wearing a black suit and white shirt, he did not speak or answer any questions from reporters gathered outside.

His lawyer, Thomas Kenniff, said his client had surrendered voluntarily and with “dignity”.

Penny is expected to be arraigned later on Friday at Manhattan Criminal Court, where reporters began to gather on Friday morning.

He faces a second-degree manslaughter charge and up to 15 years if convicted.

In a statement released a few days after Neely’s death, Penny’s lawyers said their client “never intended to harm Mr Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death”.

Across the street from the court, a small memorial dedicated to Neely has been assembled, with signs urging officials to prosecute Penny.

In a statement earlier this week, Neely’s family said that Penny needed to be in prison. “The family wants you to know that Jordan matters,” they said.

Neely – a Michael Jackson impersonator who frequently performed in Times Square – had 42 arrests on charges such as evading fares, theft and assaults on three women, according to US media reports.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has said the case highlights the need to improve the mental health system so that it can better protect people like Neely.