Daniel Penny back in court after his motion to dismiss charges in NYC subway 'chokehold' death of Jordan Neely

Penny is being prosecuted by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's office and faces manslaughter charges.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Marine Daniel Penny, who subdued mentally ill homeless man Jordan Neely on a New York City subway on May 1, 2023, leading to the man's death, is expected back in a New York City court on Tuesday.

Penny has submitted a motion to dismiss the charges, saying that Neely's behavior on that uptown train had been "insanely threatening." 

Penny is being prosecuted by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's office and faces second-degree manslaughter charges and criminally negligent homicide. He pleaded not guilty. A fundraiser was launched for his legal fees.

Penny spoke out in June about the incident, saying that he was "trying to protect passengers." Police have said that Neely was not "specifically being threatened by Neely when he intervened" and that Neely was not "threatening anyone in particular."

"The three main threats that he repeated over and over were 'I'm going to kill you,' 'I'm prepared to go to jail for life,' and 'I'm willing to die'," Penny said.

Penny said it was "a scary situation," and that he was "scared for himself," but that considering the women and children on the train, he "couldn't just sit still."

"Some people say that I was holding onto Mr. Neely for 15 minutes. This is not true," Penny said. "The whole interaction was than less than five minutes. People say I was trying to choke him to death, which is also not true. I was trying to restrain him."

Witnesses confirmed Penny's account, and many thanked him for protecting them after the incident, which left Neely dead. They said the incident was "absolutely traumatizing" and that they were terrified of Neely, who was making threats against passengers. He had been sceaming that he was going to kill a passenger, witnesses say.

Penny faces manslaughter charges and was 24 at the time of the encounter, during which he allegedly placed Neely into a chokehold on the floor of the uptown train. Cell phone video of the incident went viral, and attempts were made by activists to claim race was a factor, as Neely was black and Penny is white.

Neely's mental health issues were known to the NYPD, which had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of his death for punching an elderly woman on the subway. He was also alleged to have shoved a woman on to the subway tracks.
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