On Wednesday, grand jurors indicted Daniel Penny in the death of Jordan Neely, while occurred while both men were riding the subway in New York City.
Penny, a 24-year-old Marine veteran, was indicted on a second-degree manslaughter charge in the May 1 confrontation with Neely, a homeless man known subway busker who often performed as Michael Jackson. Penny and Neely were on an F train in Manhattan when Neely began engaging in “somewhat aggressive speech,” and allegedly telling passengers that “he was hungry, he was thirsty, that he didn’t care about anything, he didn’t care about going to jail, he didn’t care that he gets a big life sentence.” A portion of the confrontation was recorded by witnesses, which appeared to show Penny putting Neely in a chokehold on the train’s floor. Neely was unconscious when first responders reached him at the Broadway-Lafayette Street/Bleecker Street Station, before he was pronounced dead at a hospital. The city’s medical examiner said Neely died from “compression of neck (chokehold)” and declared his manner of death a homicide.
Neely’s family said the he struggled with his mental health for years, specially in the years since his mother was murdered in 2007. Penny, a white man, said in a videotaped statement on Sunday that he acted to protect himself and other passengers when he confronted Neely, who was Black: “I didn’t see a Black man threatening passengers. I saw a man threatening passengers.”
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