The Marine soldier who was seen on video putting Jordan Neely in a chokehold that killed him on a New York City subway turned himself into the police on Friday to face criminal charges in a case that has sparked protests and discussions about vigilantism across the country.
Daniel Penny, who is 24 years old, was seen walking into the 5th Precinct stationhouse in Manhattan around 8 a.m. ET. Officials said Thursday that he will likely be charged with killing in the second degree.
He was put in handcuffs and led to a waiting car when he left the station. Penny did not reply to reporters’ questions.
The office of the district attorney said that he will be brought before a criminal court in Manhattan.
Penny drove a car that didn’t have any signs on it to the courts. Before the media could see Penny walk into the building, the car was brought into the building’s garage and locked.
Penny’s lawyer, Thomas Kenniff, said that his client turned himself in voluntarily “with the kind of dignity and integrity that is typical of his long history of service to this grateful nation.”
“The case will now go to court, and a hearing is likely to happen this afternoon. “From there, things will move forward,” he told reporters.
On May 1, part of what happened on a northbound F train was caught on video by a cellphone. After a fight, it showed Penny on the ground with Neely, who was 30, in a chokehold.
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Neely was not awake when police arrived, and at the hospital, he was said to be dead, police said. The city’s medical examiner’s office said he died of “compression of neck (chokehold)” and that it was a murder.
After the episode, Penny was taken into custody for a short time and then let go.
Juan Alberto Vazquez, who filmed the cellphone footage, told NBC New York that Neely got on the train and “began to say a somewhat aggressive speech, saying he was hungry, he was thirsty, and that he didn’t care about anything, that he didn’t care about going to jail, and that he didn’t care that he gets a big life sentence.” Neely was poor, and he was said to be a subway busker who danced in a Michael Jackson costume.
Vazquez said that Neely was put in a choke hold for about 15 minutes. Two other people on the bus could be seen in the video helping to hold him back.
Neely was “aggressively threatening” people, Penny’s lawyers said, and Penny never meant to hurt him. But Neely’s family didn’t believe that story.
The family’s lawyers, Donte Mills, and Lennon Edwards, said, “It’s an attack on his character, and it shows why he thought he had the right to kill Jordan.”
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They also said that Neely had a mental illness that “began when he was 14 and saw his mother get killed in a brutal way.”
Multiple 911 Calls Were Made
A police spokesman said that multiple 911 calls were made about a physical fight and that Neely and Penny were involved in a “verbal dispute” that “escalated into a physical altercation.”
“The 30-year-old man lost consciousness during the fight between the two men,” a spokesman had said before.
Neely’s death sparked a national discussion, and some leaders called for more to be done about homelessness, mental health, and violence on the subway.
In a statement released on Friday, the Rev. Al Sharpton asked the justice system to send “a clear, loud message that vigilantism has never been acceptable.”
“Being homeless, Black, or having a mental health episode should not be a death sentence,” he said, calling the charges against Penny “step one in justice.”
Sharpton, who runs the MSNBC show “PoliticsNation,” is set to speak at Neely’s funeral in Harlem next Friday.
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