The 24-year-old ex-Marine who choked homeless Jordan Neely to death on a New York City subway has been identified as Daniel Penny.
Penny has not been charged in Neely’s death and it is unclear if he will be.
The Manhattan prosecutor and police are currently deciding whether to press charges. Homicide means a death caused by another person, but is not necessarily a murder.
On Friday evening, lawyers for Mr. Penny expressed condolences on behalf of their client to Mr. Neely’s family. “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death,” the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff said in a statement.
The firm said, “When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves, until help arrived.”
Lennon Edwards, a lawyer for the family of Mr. Neely, said in an interview on Friday that Mr. Neely’s death was unacceptable. “He was robbed of his life in a brutal way by someone who decided that they were judge, jury and executioner on the spot,” he said. “We can’t have vigilantes, and we can’t have people taking the law into their own hands.”
What transpired on the F-train on Monday?
A freelance journalist, Juan Alberto Vazquez, recorded nearly four minutes of the encounter that killed Neely.
Neely had said he was hungry and thirsty and took off his jacket, throwing it down on the ground.
“‘I’m tired already,’” he said, according to Mr. Vazquez. “‘I don’t care if I go to jail and get locked up. I’m ready to die.’”
It’s unknown if Penny said anything to Neely before Vazquez heard a thump and saw that Penny had pinned Neely down in a chokehold, while two other men took hold of his arms and legs.
Another passenger can be heard in the video saying that his wife had been in the military and knew about chokeholds, and warning the men that they should make sure Neely had not defecated on himself.
“You don’t have to catch a murder charge,” he said. “You got a hell of a chokehold, man.”
When Neely went motionless, the men placed him on his side.
“He’s all right,” the passenger who had given the warnings said. “He ain’t gonna die.”
If Penny is charged by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, prosecutors would have to prove that he used deadly force without having believed that Neely was also using deadly force or was about to.