NEW YORK (PIX11) — Daniel Penny, the man seen on video placing Jordan Neely into a fatal chokehold on the subway last week, will be charged in the case, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
“We can confirm that Daniel Penny will be arrested on a charge of manslaughter in the second degree. We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place [Friday],” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Penny, 24, was expected to turn himself in on Friday morning, sources told PIX11 News. The charge of second-degree manslaughter could carry a jail term of up to 15 years if he’s convicted.
Neely, a locally-known Michael Jackson impersonator who friends say suffered from worsening mental health, died on May 1 after Penny, a fellow rider and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, pulled him to the floor and pinned him with a hold taught in combat training for at least several minutes, according to police and video of the incident.
Neely was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. His death was ruled a homicide. The 30-year-old died from compression of the neck during the chokehold, according to the city medical examiner.
Neely, who was homeless, had been screaming at other passengers but hadn’t attacked anyone onboard the F train in Manhattan, according to a freelance journalist who recorded the video of his final minutes.
Penny’s attorneys released a statement last Friday saying he was protecting himself after Neely threatened him and other passengers.
“Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death,” said his lawyers, Thomas Kenniff and Steven Raiser.
Penny was initially questioned by the NYPD but released without charges. As video of the deadly incident circulated on social media, calls rose for charges to be filed.
Protesters took to the streets and subway stations to call for justice for Neely. While some of the demonstrations were peaceful, others escalated to violence and arrests. During one protest, demonstrators stopped subway service for about an hour, stranding hundreds of people on a Q train.
This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.