Marine who choked man to death on subway breaks silence on incident via lawyers
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Featured Image Credit: Juan Vazquez
Lawyers for the 24-year-old former Marine involved in the death of a man on a New York subway have claimed he 'never intended' to cause harm.
Daniel Penny was on board a northbound F train at the Broadway-Lafayette station on Monday (1 May) when he saw Jordan Neely allegedly start to behave 'erratically' on the train.
Witnesses said that Neely, who has been described as a talented Michael Jackson impersonator, had been shouting at passengers, saying he was prepared to go to jail before Penny stepped in to restrain him.
Penny, who was in the Marine Corps from 2017 to 2021, put Neely in a chokehold, after which he lost consciousness. Footage from the incident captured by a journalist on the train showed Penny holding Neely for almost three minutes.
The marine told passengers to call 911 while he restrained Neely, who was known to have experienced homelessness.
He was taken to hospital after being removed from the train, but he was pronounced dead.
Following an investigation, a medical examiner determined Neely's cause of death was a homicide as a result of the compression on his neck.
Penny reportedly told police he was not trying to kill Neely, but trying to hold him until the authorities arrived.
The Marine has now addressed the events in a statement released by his lawyers, which claimed he was acting in self-defense.
"Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness," the statement 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."
The statement began with the lawyers expressing, 'on behalf Daniel Penny', their condolences 'to those close to Mr. Neely'.
"Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death," it added.
"We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways."
Despite Neely's death being ruled a homicide, the case will not necessarily be prosecuted as such.
As of Friday evening (5 May), Penny had not been charged with a crime.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office continues to investigate the incident, which a spokesperson described as a 'solemn and serious matter'.
“As part of our rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the Medical Examiner’s report, assess all available video and photo footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and obtain additional medical records," the spokesperson said.