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12th May 2023

Former US marine to be charged for subway chokehold that killed Jordan Neely

Steve Hopkins

Daniel Penny ‘s lawyers earlier claimed he had acted in self-defence

A former marine who put a man in a chokehold on the New York subway is to be charged with manslaughter in the second degree over his death.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office announced the news Thursday, 10 days after Daniel Penny restrained Jordan Neely with the hold for nearly three minutes.

The incident was caught on video causing widespread outrage and protests across New York.

Neely, a former Michael Jackson impersonator who was homeless, had caused some unrest on the F train before 24-year-old Penny intervened.

CBS reported that Penny is expected to turn himself on Friday and will be arraigned.

Witnesses said Neely, 30, was acting erratically on the train and screaming about being hungry and tired but didn’t attack anyone before the incident.

The New York City medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide.

Penny was questioned by police days after the death, but released without charge.

On Saturday, Penny’s lawyers released a statement saying he had acted in self-defence and had “never intended to harm” Neely.

Lawyer Thomas Kenniff said Penny “could not have foreseen (Neely’s) untimely death” and that he only intended to restrain Neely.

Kenniff also urged elected officials to address the “mental health crisis on our streets on subways”.

The statement began, firstly by expressing, “on behalf of Daniel Penny, our condolences to those close to Mr. Neely.”

It continued: “Mr Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behaviour, the apparent result of ongoing 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 themselves, until help arrived.

“Daniel never intended to harm Mr Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”

The statement went on to say, “for too long”, those suffering from mental illness have been “treated with indifference” and the firm hoped that “out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways”.

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