NEW YORK (AP) – A US Navy veteran pleaded not guilty to the death on Wednesday stranglehold of a man behaving erratically on a New York subway.
Daniel Penny, 24, pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in the May 1 death of Jordan Neely, a former Michael Jackson impersonator who screamed and begged for money when Penny hit him on the floor of the With the help of two other passengers, he was held in a chokehold for over three minutes.
Neely, 30, lost consciousness during the fight and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A grand jury voted to impeach Penny on updated fees earlier this month. The indictment on Wednesday lasted only a few minutes. Penny, who is out on bail, simply said “not guilty” before exiting the courtroom with his attorneys.
Penny, who served in the Marines for four years and was discharged in 2021, said he acted to protect himself and others from Neely, who yelled “I’m going to kill you” and said he was “ready to die” or to go to life imprisonment.
“He yelled those threats in their faces,” Penny said in a video released by his attorneys. “I just couldn’t sit still.”
Neely’s family members and supporters said Neely, who was struggling with mental illness and homelessness, cried out for help and was met with violence.
“What happened to Jordan was a crime and this family should not be left to stand alone,” said Rev. Al Sharpton at Neely Funeral on May 19th.
Neely’s death on board an F-train in Manhattan quickly became a focal point in debates about racial justice and crime nationwide, including among Republican politicians Florida Governor Ron DeSantis He praised Penny as a heroine, while Sharpton and others compared the death of black Neely at the hands of white Penny to the 1984 subway shooting of four black men by Bernhard Goetz, a white man known as the “subway vigilante.” “ who was eventually cleared of all charges in the shooting, except for carrying an unlicensed gun.