Daniel Penny, the man captured on video choking Jordan Neely to death on a New York City subway on May 1, will be arrested on a charge of second-degree manslaughter, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The charge comes after more than a week of protest in the city, where tensions have been simmering. Even Mayor Eric Adams conceded Wednesday, “Jordan Neely did not deserve to die.”
The horrifying incident was recorded by onlookers on an F train in Manhattan. Through his lawyers, Penny, 24, alleges that he acted to protect himself and others after Neely “began aggressively threatening” him.
Viral footage of the incident begins with Neely, 30, already being subdued by Penny, a former U.S. Marine. The clip spans three minutes, with Neely squarely in Penny’s grasp throughout.
Penny’s lawyers said in a statement he “never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.” The statement also made note of Neely’s “documented history of violent and erratic behavior” that stemmed from mental health issues.
Neely’s family took issue with Penny’s statement, responding with one of their own—also through attorneys.
“The truth is, he knew nothing about Jordan’s history when he intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordan’s neck, and squeezed and kept squeezing,” the Neely family statement said.
Neely was homeless at the time of his death, which the medical examiner ruled a homicide. Records show he was arrested for past incidents on the subway, but the nature of those arrests is unclear.
Loved ones of Neely described him as sweet and loving, with a hobby of impersonating Michael Jackson. His family acknowledged that Neely struggled with mental health issues since his mother was murdered when he was a kid.