Man who choked NYC subway rider to death will face manslaughter charge, prosecutors say

May 11, 2023, 2:12 PM | Updated: 2:40 pm

A group of several hundred people protest the death of Jordan Neely, Friday, May 5, 2023, at Washin...

A group of several hundred people protest the death of Jordan Neely, Friday, May 5, 2023, at Washington Square Park in New York. Neely, a locally-known Michael Jackson impersonator who friends say suffered from worsening mental health, died Monday, May 1, when a fellow rider pulled him to the floor and pinned him with a hold taught in Marine combat training. (AP Photo/Brooke Lansdale)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Brooke Lansdale)

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan prosecutors said Thursday that they will bring stirred outrage and debates about the response to mental illness in the nation’s largest transit system.

Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran, will be arrested and face a charge of second degree manslaughter, which could carry a jail term of up to 15 years.

“We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place tomorrow,” the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in a statement.

The charges come nearly two weeks after Penny pinned fellow subway rider Jordan Neely, 30, to the floor of a subway car and put him in a chokehold that lasted for several minutes.

According to a freelance journalist who witnessed the struggle, Neely, who is Black, had been screaming and begging for money aboard the train prior to the takedown, but had not physically attacked anyone.

Attorneys for Penny, who is white, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. They previously said their client, along with two other riders who helped restrain Neely, had acted in self-defense.

“Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death,” they said in a statement.

A former subway performer known for his spot-on Michael Jackson impression, Neely struggled in recent years with homelessness and worsening mental illness, friends said. He had been arrested several times, and had recently pleaded guilty to assaulting a 67-year-old woman in 2021 as she left a subway station. After pleading guilty, he missed a court date, leading to a warrant for his arrest that was still active at the time of his death.

His death has divided some in New York and beyond, triggering intense debates and protests. Left-leaning advocates described the killing as an act of racist vigilantism, invoking comparisons to the infamous subway shooting carried out by Bernhard Goetz against four teenagers in 1984.

Others, including Mayor Eric Adams, have urged caution, calling on New Yorkers to wait for the full facts and investigations. They note that much is still not known about what precipitated the chokehold.

As the investigation has continued, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has faced pressure to make an arrest. Penny was questioned by police in the hours after Neely died, but released without charges.

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.

National News

This photo provided by the chipmaker Nvidia shows the company’s HGX H100 module, which can use as...

Associated Press

AI chips are hot. Here’s what they are, what they’re for and why investors see gold

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The hottest thing in technology is an unprepossessing sliver of silicon closely related to the chips that power video game graphics. It’s an artificial intelligence chip, designed specifically to make building AI systems such as ChatGPT faster and cheaper. Such chips have suddenly taken center stage in what some experts consider […]

23 hours ago

Natalie R. Coles, vice president & chief development officer at Wilberforce University, poses on th...

Associated Press

US companies, nudged by Black employees, have stepped up donations to HBCUs

Natalie Coles will never forget receiving an unexpected phone call in 2020. On the line was Virginia-based Dominion Energy, offering to give money to Wilberforce University, the small historically Black college where she is in charge of fundraising. The company’s $500,000 donation went in part toward laptops and hot spots for students when the pandemic […]

23 hours ago

FILE - This booking photo provided by the Clay County, Mo., Sheriff's Office shows Andrew Lester. L...

Associated Press

Judge agrees to seal court documents in Ralph Yarl shooting; suspect to be in court

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man accused of shooting a Black teenager who mistakenly came to his door last month is scheduled to be back in court Thursday, days after a judge ruled that court documents in the case will be sealed and kept from the public. The hearing for 84-year-old Andrew Lester […]

23 hours ago

FILE - Susana Lujano, left, a dreamer from Mexico who lives in Houston, joins other activists to ra...

Associated Press

Revised DACA program to be debated before Texas judge who previously ruled against it

HOUSTON (AP) — A revised version of a federal policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is set to be debated Thursday before a federal judge who previously ruled the program illegal. Attorneys representing the nine states that have sued to end the Deferred Action […]

23 hours ago

FILE - Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case that lega...

Associated Press

LGBTQ+ Pride month kicks off with protests, parades, parties

NEW YORK (AP) — The start of June marks the beginning of Pride month around the U.S. and some parts of the world, a season to celebrate the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ communities and to protest against recent attacks on hard-won civil rights gains. This year’s Pride takes place in a contentious political climate […]

23 hours ago

Associated Press

After sailing though House on bipartisan vote, Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling deal now goes to Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veering away from a default crisis, the House overwhelmingly approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package, sending the deal that President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated to the Senate for swift passage in a matter of days, before a fast-approaching deadline. The hard-fought compromise pleased few, but lawmakers assessed […]

23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Man who choked NYC subway rider to death will face manslaughter charge, prosecutors say