Jordan Neely: Ex-Marine Daniel Penny to be charged over New York subway death

·3 min read
Image from a vigil for Jordan Neely
The incident on 1 May was filmed by bystanders and sparked protests across New York

A former US Marine who placed a homeless man in a fatal chokehold on the New York subway is expected to be charged with manslaughter.

Daniel Penny, 24, will be arrested on Friday and accused of causing the death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely in a train carriage on 1 May.

His lawyers say he could not have known his actions to subdue Mr Neely would lead to his death.

My Neely was pinned to the ground and put in a chokehold for several minutes.

He had been shouting at other subway passengers and asking for money, witnesses said, but there is no indication he had physically attacked anyone.

The incident was filmed by bystanders and sparked protests across New York. A video captured by a freelance journalist on the train shows the former Marine holding the Mr Neely around the neck for two minutes and 55 seconds.

He was later found unconscious in the carriage and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. His death resulted from compression of the neck, the city's medical examiner ruled.

Mr Penny told other riders to call the police during the struggle, according to CBS News, the BBC's US partner.

He was questioned and released by police in New York on the day of the incident. But on Thursday, prosecutors said they would bring criminal charges against him.

"We can confirm that Daniel Penny will be arrested on a charge of manslaughter in the second degree," a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

"We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan criminal court."

It is not clear whether charges will be brought against two other unidentified people who were also seen restraining Mr Neely.

In a statement earlier this month, lawyers for Mr Penny expressed condolences to the Neely family, and said Mr Penny and other passengers acted in self-defence.

They said Mr Neely's behaviour was "the apparent result of ongoing and untreated, mental illness", which prompted Mr Penny and others "to protect themselves, until help arrived".

A witness to the altercation said Mr Neely was shouting about being hungry and thirsty. Police sources also told CBS News that Mr Neely was allegedly acting erratically.

In a statement earlier this week, Mr Neely's family said that Mr Penny needed to be in prison. "The family wants you to know that Jordan matters," they said.

Mr Neely was a Michael Jackson impersonator who frequently performed in Times Square.

He had a number of previous offences, which New York City Mayor Eric Adams said highlights the need to improve the mental health system so that it can better protect people like him.

He had 42 arrests on charges such as evading fares, theft, and assaults on three women, according to US media reports.

His mother, Christie Neely, was murdered in 2007 by her boyfriend, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2012, according to the Jersey Journal.

Following his mother's death, Mr Neely began experiencing mental health issues, his aunt, Carolyn Neely, told the New York Post.