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Daniel Penny Indicted in Death of Jordan Neely

New Yorkers protest Jordan Neelys death - Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
New Yorkers protest Jordan Neelys death - Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Daniel Penny was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday on a second-degree manslaughter charge in the killing of Jordan Neely, NBC News reported.

Last month, the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the charges against Penny. “We can confirm that Daniel Penny will be arrested on a charge of Manslaughter in the Second Degree,” a spokesperson for Bragg said. “We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place tomorrow.”

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Prosecutors will now be able to proceed with a felony case.

Before the charges were officially confirmed, Penny retained criminal defense attorneys Thomas Kenniff and Steven Raiser. On Thursday, in a statement to Rolling Stone, the firm wrote, “We are confident that once all the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are brought to bear, Mr. Penny will be fully absolved of any wrongdoing.”

It took prosecutors eleven days to charge Penny, who killed Neely after putting him in a fatal chokehold on May 1. Neely, who was unhoused and seemingly having a mental health crisis, was reportedly yelling and acting erratically on a subway car when Penny put him in the chokehold. An independent journalist captured part of the incident on video and later said Neely had not assaulted anyone before Penny put him in the chokehold for approximately 15 minutes.

After the incident, police told reporters that they took Penny (who hadn’t been identified yet) into custody, questioned him, and released him. A few days after Neely’s death, on May 4, the medical examiner determined that Neely died of compression to his neck caused by the chokehold, ruling his death a homicide.

Attorneys Kenniff and Raiser released a statement on Penny’s behalf last Friday, May 5, accusing Neely of having a “documented history of violent and erratic behavior,” and claiming he was “aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers” on the subway.

The Neely family, through its lawyers, responded Monday, May 8, calling Penny’s statement neither “an apology nor an expression of regret,” but a “character assassination.” The lawyers also called out the way Penny’s statement “suggests that the general public has shown ‘indifference’ for people like Jordan.” But, they say, “that term is more appropriately used to describe [Penny].”

This article was updated Friday, May 12 at 9:15 a.m. to reflect news that Penny had surrendered. This article was updated May 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET with details from Penny’s court appearance. This article was updated June 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET to reflect news that Penny had been indicted.

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