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Daniel Penny Arraigned In Subway Chokehold Death Of Jordan Neely

Daniel Penny leaves the courtroom after an arraignment hearing at NYS Supreme Court on June 28, 2023, in New York City. | Source: Michael M. Santiago / Getty

Jordan Neely‘s family and supporters had some choice words and reactions to the arraignment of the man who choked their loved one to death on a New York City subway last month.

Daniel Penny had his latest court appearance on Wednesday morning when he formally pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges stemming from the former Marine’s lethal response to Neely, 30, on May 1 aboard an F-line train.

MORE: Jordan Neely And The Lost Lives Of America’s Young, Black And Disabled 

“Daniel Penny stands indicted for Manslaughter after allegedly putting Jordan Neely in a deadly chokehold for several minutes until and after he stopped moving,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement tweeted by CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez.

As Penny entered his plea and spoke the only two words he said during the arraignment — “not guilty” — Neely’s supporters let it be known how they felt about the plea.

According to Insider reporter Laura Italiano, Neely’s supporters in the courtroom in Manhattan Criminal Court “gave a quiet murmur of disapproval when Penny spoke.” Italiano tweeted a video of Penny entering the courthouse.

Once the arraignment ended, an attorney for Neely’s family let it be known how they felt about Penny’s guilty plea.

“Daniel Penny killed a man. He took a life,” attorney Donte Mills reportedly said before pointing to Penny’s legal defense fund which has surged to nearly $3 million raised. If anyone thought the controversial GiveSendMe account would “somehow make this go away,” he said, “it’s not gonna happen it didn’t work. You can ask for a refund.”


Donte Mills, a lawyer for the Neely family, speaks to the press outside Manhattan criminal court where former Daniel Penny was arraigned in connection with the chokehold death of Jordan Neely, in New York, June 28, 2023. | Source: YUKI IWAMURA / Getty

Neely’s father, Andre Zachery, was among those who were in the courtroom on Wednesday.


Andre Zachery (L), father of Jordan Neely, and lawyer Donte Mills (R), arrive at Manhattan criminal court on June 28, 2023. | Source: YUKI IWAMURA / Getty

Penny is due back in court in October.

Penny’s arraignment came nearly two months after he surrendered and was arrested, prompting the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to refer the case to a grand jury, which returned an indictment last week.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who eulogized Neely at his funeral in Harlem last month, applauded the grand jury indictment while emphasizing that the charges don’t fit the alleged crime.

“The Manhattan grand jury saw right through [Penny’s] false narrative by voting to move this case forward,” Sharpton said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “While they should be saluted for this righteous step, we wish the charge would have reflected what this really was: murder.”

Penny, notably, told the New York Post in an interview that he wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing again if presented with a similar situation.

What happened to Jordan Neely?

Eyewitnesses abroad on the F-line train that fateful day on May 1 claim Neely was in the throes of a mental health crisis while yelling that he was hungry and didn’t care if he went to jail. Penny, who was trained to kill by the military, is accused of coming up behind Neely and placing him in a chokehold that lasted minutes. With the help of two unidentified men, Penny was able to keep Neely restrained via the chokehold until there was no more life in the 30-year-old’s body.

Penny was arrested on the scene but later released without any criminal charges, sparking an uproar over the lack of accountability for employing deadly force over a perceived physical threat from Neely.

Nearly two full weeks later, Penny and his lawyers were allowed by law enforcement to orchestrate his surrender.

Penny has been doing damage control

Penny has maintained that he never intended to kill Neely and recently doubled down on his claims that race was not a factor when he decided to take the law into his own hands.

In a new interview with Law & Crime, Penny predictably explained that Neely’s verbal threats justified the physical force that ultimately killed him. Penny also downplayed the severity of the chokehold — which caused Neely to die by “compression of the neck,” according to a medical examiner — claiming it wasn’t applied for the amount of time “some people” are saying it was applied for.


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