Former Marine Daniel Penny has been indicted for the fatal chokehold death of Jordan Neely, a homeless man who tragically lost his life during a subway confrontation last month. The grand jury’s decision, reached after weeks of nationwide outcry and scrutiny over Penny’s actions, marks a pivotal moment in this deeply troubling case.
On June 15, 2023, a group of jurors in Manhattan handed down an indictment against Daniel Penny, charging him with second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. If convicted, Penny could face a maximum of 15 years in state prison for the former charge, and an additional four years for the latter. These charges highlight the severity of the incident and the legal consequences that Penny may soon face.
Penny’s defense attorneys have staunchly declared their commitment to clearing his name and plan to aggressively defend him in court. Steven Raiser, representing Penny from the law firm Raiser & Kenniff, emphasized that the decision to move the case forward was made based on a low standard of proof in the grand jury, with no official finding of wrongdoing. However, it remains to be seen how this argument will fare when the evidence is presented before a trial jury.
Video footage captured the tragic encounter between Penny and Neely during the subway confrontation. Eyewitnesses reported that Neely, who had a history of mental illness and altercations with the NYPD, was shouting threats and acting aggressively towards fellow passengers. Penny, along with two other individuals, intervened in an attempt to restrain the struggling 30-year-old. It was during this chaotic incident that Penny placed Neely in a deadly chokehold, an action that would ultimately result in Neely’s untimely demise.
The release of the video footage sparked immediate outrage, with many individuals, including Reverend Al Sharpton, condemning the initial decision to release Penny following the incident. Neely’s family placed blame on authorities for failing to provide the necessary care for their loved one’s mental health issues, and they have called for Penny to be charged with murder. Reverend Sharpton, in a powerful eulogy, expressed the sentiment that the choking of Jordan Neely represented an assault on the collective community.
As the legal proceedings unfold, Penny remains free on $100,000 bail. The city medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide, attributing it to “compression of the neck.” Penny is scheduled to appear in court on July 17, where the evidence will be presented and his fate determined. While the indictment is seen as a step in the right direction by Reverend Sharpton and others, there is an ongoing desire for justice to prevail and for accountability to be upheld in memory of Jordan Neely.