Daniel Penny case: Marine veteran pleads not guilty to charges in subway chokehold death

Daniel Penny charges include second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide

ByDerick Waller WABC logo
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Daniel Penny to be arraigned in subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely
Daniel Penny was originally arrested on manslaughter charges in the subway chokehold death Jordan Neely. Derick Waller has details.

NEW YORK -- The Marine veteran charged with choking a homeless man to death on a Manhattan subway has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Daniel Penny was arraigned on the charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Penny, 24, was recorded on cellphone video holding Neely in a chokehold on an F-Train for several minutes on May 1.

Penny was initially arrested on manslaughter charges, but a grand jury decided there was enough evidence to show he may have gone too far.

Some activists, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, say those charges are not enough. He says prosecutors should have sought a murder charge.

Penny was indicted June 14 by a grand jury in connection with Jordan Neely's death.

Neely's death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner.

Penny's attorneys argue he was trying to defend himself and passengers when Neely allegedly started acting erratically on an F train last month.

A video was released of Penny defending his actions.

"Some people say I was trying to choke him to death, which is also not true. I was trying to restrain him. You can see in the video there is a clear rise and fall of his chest, indicating that he is breathing. I'm trying to restrain him from him trying to carry out the threats," Penny said in the video.

Mass demonstrations erupted across the city after video of the subway chokehold was posted online.

SEE ALSO: Jordan Neely, subway chokehold death: Funeral Friday for man who died in NYC train incident

Last week, the Manhattan district attorney declined to prosecute those charged with misdemeanors from the protests. The other men in the subway chokehold video, who are restraining Neely with Penny, have not been charged.

Only Penny, who administered the deadly chokehold, is facing consequences.

Following the arraignment outside the court, Penny's defense attorneys spoke confidently about their client's ability to be found not guilty.

"We are a long way off from trial, but all the evidence we've seen is that our client acted under the law," defense attorney Thomas Keniff said. "Confident our client acted within the confines of the law."

Neely's family and supporters denounced Penny and expressed their hope for justice.

"Daniel Penny did not have the courage to look Mr. Jordan's father in the eye," attorney Dante Mills said.

Penny is free on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is set for Oct. 25.