The former Marine seen on video fatally choking Jordan Neely on the subway last week has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and released on $100,000 bond.
Daniel Penny, 24, surrendered to authorities Friday morning, his attorney said. At his arraignment Friday afternoon, a judge ordered him to surrender his passport within 48 hours and remain in New York state, unless he receives court permission to leave.
Penny, who did not enter a plea, is expected to appear in court again July 17.
What You Need To Know
- Daniel Penny, the former Marine seen on video fatally choking Jordan Neely on the subway on May 1, has been released on $100,000 bond after surrendering on a manslaughter charge
- The Manhattan DA's office said Thursday that Penny would be charged with second-degree manslaughter
- Neely's death sparked protests across the city within the last week, with some resulting in arrests
In a statement released after the arraignment, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said his office “determined there was probable cause to arrest Daniel Penny and arraign him on felony charges.”
"As this case proceeds, we will be constrained from speaking outside the courtroom to ensure this remains a fair and impartial matter,” Bragg said. “Jordan Neely should still be alive today, and my thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss during this extremely painful time.”
At a press conference Friday morning, Penny's attorney, Thomas Kenniff, said his client surrendered at the NYPD's 5th Precinct in Manhattan just after 8 a.m., "at the request of the New York County district attorney's office."
"He did so voluntarily and with the sort of dignity and integrity that is characteristic of his history of service to this grateful nation," Kenniff said.
On May 1, Neely, a street performer who was unhoused, was placed in a deadly chokehold by Penny after Neely allegedly began screaming for food and help. The city's medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Witnesses told investigators they saw Neely “making threats and scaring passengers” before Penny placed him in a chokehold, according to a bail application read by Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass in court Friday.
Penny “continued to hold Mr. Neely in the chokehold for several minutes” after the train arrived at the Broadway-Lafayette station in Manhattan, Steinglass said.
“During the hold, two additional males aided the defendant by restraining Mr. Neely’s arms. At some point, Mr. Neely stopped moving,” he added. “The defendant continued to hold Mr. Neely for a period and then released him.”
In a statement released earlier this week, Steven Raiser, another attorney for Penny, said that when Penny “stepped in to protect himself and his fellow New Yorkers, his well-being was not assured.”
“The unfortunate result was the unintended and unforeseen death of Mr. Neely,” the statement read. “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.”
The DA's office initially announced that Penny would be charged with second-degree manslaughter on Thursday.
Neely's death sparked protests across the city within the last week, with some resulting in arrests. Many officials have spoken out about his death — including Mayor Eric Adams.
"I appreciate DA Bragg conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Jordan Neely. I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now justice can move forward against Daniel Penny,” Adams said in a statement Thursday night.
On Wednesday, Adams called Neely’s death a “tragedy that never should have happened,” and urged state lawmakers to back a controversial mental health plan he introduced last year.
Lawyers for Neely's family held a news conference outside their law firm in Midtown Manhattan Friday morning, flanked by Neely’s aunt and father.
The attorneys, Lennon Edwards and Donte Mills, described Neely as a young man who lost his way after his mother was murdered when he was still a teenager.
Mills said that tragedy “changed Jordan’s mentality forever,” but maintained that on the day he was killed, he posed no physical threat to other subway riders.
“Mr. Neely did not attack anyone. He did not touch anyone, he did not hit anyone, but he was choked to death,” Mills said. “And that can’t stand. That can’t be what we represent.”
“No one on that train asked Jordan, ‘What’s wrong? How can I help you? He was choked to death instead. So for everybody saying I’ve been on the train and I’ve been afraid before, and I can’t tell you what I would have done in that situation, I'm going to tell you: Ask how you can help,” Mills added. “Please. Don’t attack. Don’t choke, don’t kill. Don’t take someone’s life. Don’t take someone’s loved one from them because they’re in a bad place.”
Neely’s attorneys also said they had hoped to see Penny charged with second-degree murder, not second-degree manslaughter.
“When I talked to the DA, I suggested murder two. They suggested manslaughter two,” Edwards said. “The consequences of manslaughter two is five to 15 years. Ask yourself, is that enough? Is that enough for someone who choked someone out on the train and took their life?”
“Now, when you’re trained in combat, that gives you something that the average person does not have: it gives you options. It gives you the option of bear-hugging, of striking, of many other things. But Daniel Penny chose, intentionally chose, a technique to use that is designed to cut off air,” he added. “And he chose to continue to hold that chokehold minute after minute, second after second, until there was no life left in Jordan Neely.”