Lawyers for the 24-year-old former Marine who was involved in a man’s death on a New York subway say he ‘never meant’ to inflict damage.
On Monday (1 May), Daniel Penny was on board a northbound F train at the Broadway-Lafayette station when he saw Jordan Neely reportedly acting ‘erratically’ on the train.
Witnesses claimed Neely, a skilled Michael Jackson lookalike, had been yelling at passengers and threatening to go to prison until Penny intervened to stop him.
Penny, who served in the Marine Corps from 2017 to 2021, choked Neely and caused him to lose consciousness. A journalist on the train obtained video of the event, which showed Penny holding Neely for about three minutes.
The marine instructed passengers to dial 911 while restraining Neely, who was known to be homeless.
After being pulled from the train, he was rushed to the hospital, but he was declared dead.
A medical examiner found Neely’s death was a murder as a consequence of the compression on his neck after an examination.
Penny allegedly told cops that he was not attempting to murder Neely, but rather to confine him until officials came.
The Marine has now spoken out about the incident in a statement provided by his attorneys, claiming that he was acting in self-defense.
Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behaviour, the apparent consequence of an ongoing and untreated mental illness, according to the statement.
When Mr. Neely started aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel acted to protect himself and others until help arrived.
The statement opened with the attorneys offering their sympathies “on behalf of Daniel Penny” to “those close to Mr. Neely.”
Daniel never meant to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death, the statement said.
They hope that this terrible tragedy will inspire their elected officials to make a new commitment to addressing the mental health crisis on their streets and subways.
Despite the fact that Neely’s death was considered a murder, the case will not be prosecuted as such.
Penny has not been charged with a crime as of Friday evening, May 5.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the event, which was characterized as a solemn and serious issue by a representative.
As part of their ongoing thorough investigation, they will review the medical examiner’s report, examine all available video and photo footage, locate and question as many witnesses as possible, and seek additional medical records, a representative said.