Daniel Penny has been identified by his lawyers as the 24-year-old ex-Marine who held his fellow passenger, Jordan Neely, in a fatal chokehold on the New York subway. The US Navy veteran has defended his actions, saying he and other passengers acted in self-defense.
LOOK. Jordan Neely dies after being choked by Daniel Penny
In a statement from his lawyers released yesterday, Daniel Penny expressed his condolences to Neely’s family. “We would like first, on behalf of Daniel Penny, to express our condolences to the loved ones of Jordan Neely,” said the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff, PC
Later in the statement, Penny defends his actions when the victim began yelling at fellow passengers. “When Jordan Neely began aggressively threatening his fellow passengers and Daniel Penny, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect himself until help arrived.” “Daniel never intended to harm Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death,” the statement said. “We hope this terrible tragedy will spark a new commitment from our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways.”
Police say Daniel Penny told other passengers to call 911 during the struggle with Nelly. This is cited by the lawyers as an additional argument that he “never intended to harm the victim”. They also point to Neely’s mental problems as the cause of his “violent and erratic behavior”.
Murder or Manslaughter?
Jordan Neely’s death is being treated as manslaughter, but no arrests have been made or charges have been filed. The Manhattan district attorney and police are currently deciding whether Penny’s actions were justified and whether they were murder or not.
A jury is expected to convene next week to determine whether there is enough evidence to charge. To be found guilty, prosecutors must prove that Daniel Penny used deadly force without believing that Jordan Neely was also willing to use deadly force, experts told the New York Times.
In the aftermath of the strangulation, several protests were held in subway stations and on the streets, calling for the arrest of Daniel Penny. The demonstrators want extra attention for crime and homelessness on public transport in New York. They argue that the circumstances surrounding Neely’s death – his homelessness and mental health problems – reflect the structural deficiencies in social services to impoverished New Yorkers.
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