N.Y. Man Accused Of Placing Jordan Neely In Chokehold Defends Actions

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The college student and Marine veteran accused of putting Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold on a New York City subway released his first statement since the incident, saying he acted in self-defense. The statement also identified the 24-year-old for the first time as Daniel Penny.

The three paragraphs released through Penny’s lawyers alleges that Neely “aggressively” threatened Penny and other passengers. It added that Penny “never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”

No one, including Penny, has been charged in connection with Neely’s death, which was ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner on Wednesday evening. The Manhattan district attorney’s office said earlier this week that they were reviewing the medical examiner’s report and video footage and interviewing witnesses as part of an investigation into the incident.

Penny expressed his condolences to those who knew Neely, 30, who used to perform on the subway as an impersonator.

The fatal incident has become a flash point in New York and across the country after videos surfaced this week of Neely flailing his arms, kicking his legs and trying to free himself as Penny held him in a chokehold on the floor of the train. Neely was taken to the hospital once he was released from the hold and pronounced dead.

The incident drew condemnation from some prominent Democratic lawmakers.

“I have yet to hear a real explanation from any official hesitating to condemn the killing of Jordan Neely about what makes condemning this violence so ‘complicated,'” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted. “Killing is wrong. Killing the poor is wrong. Killing the mentally ill is wrong. Why is that so hard to say?”

New York Mayor Eric Adams criticized Ocasio Cortez for saying earlier in the week that Neely was murdered, and told CNN on Thursday there were still “so many unknowns” in Neely’s case.

Witnesses said Neely was acting in a “hostile and erratic manner,” according to police. Juan Alberto Vazquez, who took the video of the encounter, said Neely was shouting that he was hungry and thirsty.

In the statement, Penny’s lawyers said they hoped this “awful tragedy” will bring a commitment from those in government to “address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways.”

The New York Police Department, Adams’s office and the local district attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(c) 2023, The Washington Post · Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff 


  1. Sadly, some mentally ill people in the throes of a psychotic fit CAN kill others. It is no stretch of the imagination to conjecture that this may have been a case of self-defense.


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