The New York City district attorney’s office that quickly criminally charged Jonathan Majors has taken a decidedly less hurried approach with the irrefutable chokehold killing of Jordan Neely as the 24-year-old white man who deliberately employed vigilante justice avoids any immediate accountability.
Majors, a huge movie star whose steep, rapid ascent in Hollywood was abruptly interrupted by assault charges last month following an alleged incident with his girlfriend, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday (May 9). Meanwhile, Daniel Penny, who choked Neely to death, and the two accomplices who helped him, remain unscathed.
What is Majors accused of doing?
The 33-year-old actor was booked in a matter of hours on March 25 for two misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, second-degree aggravated harassment, second-degree harassment and third-degree attempted assault for allegedly strangling, assaulting and harassing a 30-year-old white woman.
The two allegedly got into a dispute as they were inside a cab riding to Manhattan from Brooklyn. Majors’ attorney, Priya Chaudhry, claims the woman “was attempting to steal” Majors’ phone when the incident occurred. Chaudhry filed legal documents in Manhattan stating that the cab driver witnessed the woman with Majors assault the actor around 1 a.m., hours before he was arrested.
The cab driver will prove that Majors did not hit or choke the woman “in any way at any time, or even raised his voice,” Chaudhry’s filing says in part.
According to the filing, the driver also saw the woman, “hitting, scratching and attacking” Majors. At one point during the incident, Majors asked the driver to pull over so that he could escape the alleged assault, the filing claims.
After the incident, the woman allegedly told police that she had suffered a broken finger and a laceration behind her ear, but Chaudhry said there is video footage to prove that the woman’s statement was “a complete lie.” Security footage obtained by TMZ showed the woman in a nightclub shortly after the incident with Majors using her right hand normally — the same hand that she claimed Majors injured prior to them parting ways earlier in the night.
Chaudhry also claimed to have evidence that the woman called Majors “32 times” the night of the incident with angry texts accusing him of infidelity and threatening suicide.
No charges in Jordan Neely’s homicide
In the chokehold death of Neely, who a medical examiner’s office determined was the victim of a homicide, there is also video evidence — evidence that has gone viral on social media allowing the public to view. In addition, eyewitnesses have said Neely was not being violent to or threatening Penny, the former Marine who is alleged to have kept the 30-year-old in the chokehold for at least 15 minutes. Witnesses claim Penny was warned by bystanders multiple times that he might kill Neely but refused to release him until he had died.
The NYPD did arrest Penny just as swiftly as they did Majors. However, they just as quickly released Penny from custody without any criminal charges despite what appears to be more evidence than in Majors’ case.
Now, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office — the same one prioritizing the prosecution of former President Donald Trump allegedly paying off a porn star — has taken more than a week to decide whether Penny’s documented homicidal actions are deserving of criminal charges when nobody is disputing that he is responsible for Neely’s death.
That deliberate and cautious approach stands in stark contrast to the prompt charges for Majors, who has maintained his innocence.
Penny’s lawyer released a statement late last week claiming he “never intended to harm Mr. Neely.” The statement also criminalized Neely in death and said he was “aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers,” directly contradicting claims from eyewitnesses.
But attorneys representing Neely’s family fired back on Monday and took umbrage with how defense lawyers characterized Penny as the victim in the case. They said Penny’s statement “is not an apology or an expression of regret” and accused him of “character assassination.” Penny “believed he was entitled to take Jordan’s life,” the attorneys continued before explaining that those actions “show why he deserves to be in prison.”
To be sure, if Majors did what he is accused of doing, he should absolutely be held accountable for his actions. The court of public opinion has already seemingly found him guilty anyway.
But then it follows that the same law enforcement officials responsible for holding Majors accountable should lend the same, swift treatment to Penny, who is obviously alleged to have committed something that is much more violent than Majors.
In a telling development, the only criminal charges related to Neely’s chokehold homicide as of Tuesday morning have been against protesters demanding justice for the slain man.
Instead, the two cases appear to support civil rights attorney Ben Crump’s claims of the U.S. having “two justice systems in America, one for black America and one for white America.”
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