US Marine veteran Daniel Penny is now facing one charge of second-degree manslaughter and another charge of criminally negligent homicide from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office following a grand jury decision as confirmed by Mayor Eric Adams.
“I appreciate DA Bragg conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Jordan Neely. Like I said when the DA first brought charges, I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now that the Grand Jury has indicted Daniel Penny, a trial and justice can move forward.”
Back on May 1st, former Michael Jackson impersonator Neely was riding the subway in NYC while making threats and being obscene towards other subway riders in between bits of begging for money. At multiple points, he threatened to kill Penny and other riders while proclaiming that he didn’t fear being sent to jail for his crimes either.
With slow to jump in assistance from two other riders, Penny put Neely on the floor and got him into a rear-naked choke. Holding that restraint (not at full force) for two to three minutes, Neely eventually went limp. A freelance journalist on the train recorded the submission, including Neely’s violent attempts to free himself before suddenly going limp. This journalist has gone on record as saying that Neely threatened but had yet to assault anyone before Penny moved.
Penny’s lawyers, Steven Raiser and Thomas Kenniff issued a statement explaining that Penny didn’t want to kill Neely but rather simply wanted to restrain him until the police arrived to remove him.
“While we respect the decision of the grand jury to move this case forward to trial, it should be noted that the standard of proof in a grand jury is very low and there has been no finding of wrongdoing. We’re confident that when a trial jury is tasked with weighing the evidence, they will find Daniel Penny’s actions on that train were fully justified,” said Raiser.
The death of Neely has inspired multiple protests, and many considered the lack of immediate charges to be another example of racial injustice in NYC, yet multiple Republican presidential candidates have spoken up in his defense.
Given the reasonable suspicion of riders that Neely would become violent or even deadly with riders, Penny was clearly within his rights to restrain him. The threats and body language that have been reported all confirm that Neely was ready to do some damage. Yet for the left that isn’t enough.
Meanwhile, supporters of Penny’s legal defense fund have been able to crowdfund him $2.8 million to help ensure he has a great defense according to his lawyers. While he was already released on a $100,000 bond following a May 12th indictment, he will now need to return to court to be arraigned on these charges.
Under NY law, in order for a manslaughter charge to go forward, it needed the grand jury decision to be filed. Now Penny could face 15 years for the first charge and another four on the second if convicted. Yet that doesn’t seem to scare him or his lawyers. They know the burden of proof for a grand jury is nearly nonexistent, and this is just part of the process.
Penny spoke with the press while he’s been free about how he saw the events of that day and what he needed to do as a Marine. “There’s a common misconception that Marines don’t get scared. We’re actually taught one of our core values is courage, and courage is not the absence of fear but how you handle fear. I was scared for myself but I looked around there was women and children, he was yelling in their faces saying these threats. I just couldn’t sit still.”
This mindset will serve him well as the trial goes on. He’ll certainly need that strong mindset with the frequent attacks his character will suffer throughout this case by people who want to play the race card at every turn. Thankfully, after his years as an infantry squad leader with the Marines, he should have no shortage of people to speak about his moral fiber.