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Daniel Penny to be charged with manslaughter for NYC subway chokehold that killed Jordan Neely

Man faces manslaughter charge in subway death
Marine veteran to be charged with manslaughter in subway chokehold death 00:32

A Marine veteran will be charged with manslaughter in the second degree in the chokehold death of a man on a subway train, the Manhattan district attorney's office said in a statement to CBS News on Thursday. Jordan Neely, a former Michael Jackson impersonator who was homeless, died after being put in a chokehold by Daniel Penny earlier this month.

Penny is expected to turn himself in to authorities, CBS New York reported. Prosecutors expect Penny to be arraigned Friday.

"We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court," a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office said in the statement.

A video lasting nearly 3 minutes shows Penny, 24, on the floor of a subway car with Neely, 30, in a chokehold. Witnesses said Neely was acting erratically on the train and screaming about being hungry and tired but didn't attack anyone.

The New York City medical examiner's office ruled Neely's death a homicide. Penny was initially questioned by police and released without being charged.

In the days following Neely's death, attorneys representing Penny said Neely was "aggressively threatening" their client and that he and other passengers "acted to protect themselves."

"Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death," Thomas Kenniff and Steven Raiser said in a May 5 statement.

Attorneys for Neely's family said Penny should be sent to prison.

"He never attempted to help him at all," Lennon Edwards and Donte Mills said in a May 8 statement.

The case sparked days of protests by demonstrators calling for justice for Neely.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a city official, joined the calls for charges against Penny ahead of Thursday's announcement.

"Jordan Neely was unjustly killed, and charges must be immediately brought against the person who killed him," Williams told reporters this week. "To say anything else is an equivocation that will only further a narrative that devalues the life of a Black homeless man with mental health challenges and encourages an attitude of dehumanization of New Yorkers in greatest need."

City Comptroller Brad Lander said mental health services need to be more widely available to New Yorkers. "New York City is not Gotham," Lander told reporters. "We can't be a city where you can choke someone to death who's experiencing a mental health crisis."

New York Mayor Eric Adams acknowledged that Neely's death "devastated his family and shocked his fellow New Yorkers," and Adams had urged people not to rush to judgment.

"One thing we can say for sure: Jordan Neely did not deserve to die," Adams said Wednesday during an address at City Hall, "and all of us must work together to do more for our brothers and sisters struggling with serious mental illness."

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