NEW YORK (AP) — A man who kept a chokehold around the neck of an agitated fellow passenger on a New York City subway, leading to the other rider’s death, is expected to turn himself to authorities Friday on a manslaughter charge that could send him to prison for 15 years.
Manhattan prosecutors announced Thursday they would bring the criminal charge against Daniel Penny, 24, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, in the May 1 death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely.
Neely’s death, captured on video by a freelance journalist, has raised an uproar over many issues, including how those with mental illness are treated by the transit system and the city, as well as crime and vigilantism.
“When Mr. Penny, a decorated Marine veteran, stepped in to protect himself and his fellow New Yorkers, his well-being was not assured,” the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff, Pennty’s attorneys, said in a statement.
“He risked his own life and safety, for the good of his fellow passengers. The unfortunate result was the unintended and unforeseen death of Mr. Neely.”
They have previously said Penny acted in self-defense.
According to an onlooker, Neely, who is Black, had been screaming and begging for money aboard the train but had not gotten physical with anyone.
Penny, who is white, was questioned by police in the aftermath but was released without charges.
Friends of Neely said the former subway performer had been dealing with homelessness and mental illness in recent years. He had several arrests to his name, including a 2021 assault of a 67-year-old woman leaving a subway station.
A second-degree manslaughter charge in New York will require the jury to find that a person has engaged in reckless conduct that creates an unjustifiable risk of death, and then consciously disregards that risk.
The law also requires that conduct to be a gross deviation from how a reasonable person would act in a similar situation.