Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the charges of a man who killed a Young Black man on a New York City subway.
Daniel Penny was arraigned on a second-degree manslaughter charge and was released on bond Friday after he was filmed placing Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold on a New York City subway train this month. The case has prompted protests and calls for action from Neely’s family and lawmakers for nearly two weeks.
Penny, a 24 year old Marine Corps veteran, turned himself in at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday morning, 11 days after Neely, 30, was killed. Speaking to reporters outside the police station, Thomas A. Kenniff, one of Penny’s attorneys, said his client surrendered to police at the request of the Manhattan district attorney’s office..Penny was released on $100,000 cash bond and ordered by New York City Supervising Judge Kevin McGrath to turn over his passport within 48 hours. Penny, who was seen leaving the courthouse at around 12:30 p.m., also signed a waiver of extradition and must get permission from the court should he seek to leave the state, according to the district attorney’s office.
Penny’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 17. If convicted, Penny could face five to 15 years in prison.
Manhattan district Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) said in a statement: “After an evaluation of the available facts and evidence, the Manhattan D.A.’s Office determined there was probable cause to arrest Daniel Penny and arraign him on felony charges, Jordan Neely should still be alive today, and my thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss during this extremely painful time.”
Steven M. Raiser, who is Penny’s attorney, confirmed on Friday that the attorneys had set up an online fundraiser on GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site, to help pay for Penny’s legal fees. More than $430,000 had been raised for Penny’s legal defense fund as of Friday afternoon on GiveSendGo. The funding platform was created after the siteGoFundMe removed far-right campaigns that went against its terms of service. GiveSendGo has also hosted fundraisers for defendants involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and for Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on all charges after killing two people and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconson in 2020. Conservative pundits and Fox News hosts have defended Penny, describing the manslaughter charge as “pro-criminal” and “anti-hero.”
Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards, attorneys for Neely’s family, said at a news conference Friday that while the family was pleased about Penny’s arrest and charge, they believed he should have been charged with second-degree murder. The family’s attorneys said they are seeking a grand jury indictment.
The family’s attorneys also said they spoke with Bragg on Tuesday and pushed for prosecutors not to wait to bring charges. Bragg’s office said that didn’t happen.
“Should Daniel Penny be charged with manslaughter? Absolutely,” Mills said. “He acted with indifference. He didn’t care about Jordan. He cared about himself.”
In a statement to The Washington Post, Penny’s attorneys said the arraignment “marks the first step in a long process to get to the truth.”
“In the end of that process, we fully expect that Danny will be exonerated of all charges,” Raiser and Kenniff said.
Penny’s arrest suggests prosecutors believed there was probable cause to file an initial set of charges. A
The family’s attorneys also said they spoke with Bragg on Tuesday and pushed for prosecutors not to wait to bring charges. Bragg’s office said that didn’t happen. “Should Daniel Penny be charged with manslaughter? Absolutely,” Mills said. “He acted with indifference. He didn’t care about Jordan. He cared about himself.” In a statement that was made to The Washington Post, Penny’s attorneys said the arraignment “marks the first step in a long process to get to the truth.” “In the end of that process, we fully expect that Danny will be exonerated of all charges,” Raiser and Kenniff said. Penny’s arrest suggests prosecutors believed there was probable cause to file an initial set of charges. An indictment through the grand jury process can take time, and its efficiency is often at odds with the availability of witnesses, court schedules, the collection of evidence and other logistical factors.
On May 1, shortly after 2 p.m., Neely, a Black man, walked into the F train at the Second Avenue station and began shouting that he was hungry and thirsty, said freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who was aboard the train and recorded the fatal chokehold. “I don’t have food. I don’t have a drink. I’m fed up,” the man screamed, according to Vazquez. “I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I’m ready to die.”
That’s when Penny, who is White, pinned Neely to the ground and placed him in a chokehold while two other passengers helped restrain him, video recorded by Vazquez shows. Neely, video shows, flailed his arms, kicked his legs and struggled to free himself before Penny released him and put him on his side. Neely, who appeared unconscious at the end of the video, was pronounced dead at the hospital, authorities said. Neely used to perform on the subway as a moonwalking Michael Jackson impersonator and had been placed in foster care after his mother was murdered when he was 14, Gothamist reported. He had lived in the Bronx, public records show. Authorities have not said how long he had been in the chokehold, but Vasquez wrote on Facebook that the men were in that position “for about 15 minutes” while bystanders and the train operator called the police. Days after the Neely’s death, Penny, whom authorities had not yet publicly identified, released a statement saying he acted in self-defense after Neely “aggressively” threatened him and other passengers. In the three paragraphs released May 6 by his lawyers, Penny said he “never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”
Penny was seen walking in to the police station at 8 a.m. Friday wearing a suit and sneakers. He did not answer questions from journalists. He left the precinct in handcuffs before 11 a.m. and headed over to the court to be arraigned.
Credit: The New York Times, The Washington Post.