Daniel Penny, the Marine veteran who is being charged with manslaughter in the death of Jordan Neely, a homeless man, on a New York City subway, just released a video in which he spoke out about what happened on the subway and why he intervened.
Beginning the clip, Mr. Penny discussed his use of the subway and why he was there on that day, along with what Mr. Neely allegedly did once he got on the train that drew the concern and attention of passengers on the subway train. “I take the subway multiple times a day. In this instance, I was coming from school, I got out of class around 215. And I took the J shirt. I was at Jay St. MetroTech took the Uptown F train. At Second Avenue, a man came on, stumbled on he [appeared] to be on drugs. The doors closed, and he ripped his jacket off and violently threw it at the people sitting down to my left,” he said.
Continuing, Mr. Penny described what drew his attention to Mr. Neely and what Mr. Neely was allegedly yelling at the passengers that made them feel threatened and the situation “scary” for him and the other passengers. “I was listening to music at the time. And he was yelling, so I took my headphones out to hear what he was yelling. And the three main threats that he repeated over and over was, ‘I’m gonna kill you. I’m prepared to go to jail for life.’ And ‘I’m willing to die.’ You know, this is a this was a scary situation,” he said.
Mr. Penny then said that he “couldn’t just sit still” as Mr. Neely allegedly threatened the other passengers on the train, saying that despite his fear and Mr. Neely’s size, he felt the need to intervene because women and children were on the train and scared of what might happen to them if they were left undefended. He said, “And Mr. Neely came on, he was, he was threatening. He’s, I’m six-two, and he was taller than me. So it was an, there’s a common misconception that Marines don’t get scared. We’re actually taught one of our core values is courage. And courage is not the absence of fear, but how you handle fear. And, you know, I was scared for myself, but I looked around I saw women and children he was yelling in their faces saying, saying these threats. I couldn’t just sit still.”
Continuing, Mr. Penny emphasized the brevity of the situation and what he was trying to do when he put Mr. Neely in a chokehold, saying that he was trying to restrain him for the rest of the train ride, not choke him to death. “Some people say that I was holding on to Mr. Neely for 15 minutes. This is not true. Only between stops is only a couple of minutes. And so the whole interaction less, less than less than five minutes. 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’s a clear rise and fall of his chest indicating that he’s breathing, trying to restrain him from him being able to carry out the threats,” Mr. Penny said.
Mr. Penny then took issue with the allegations of racism hurled his way by those who weren’t there, noting that it was a “person of color” who helped him restrain Mr, Neely, that it was a collection of “people of color” who he had stepped in to protect, and that a “woman of color” called him a hero for what he did. “And then some people say that this is about race, which is absolutely ridiculous. I didn’t see a black man threatening passengers I saw a man threatening passengers. It’s a lot of whom were people of color. The man who helped restrain Mr. Neely was, was a person of color. And then a few days after the incident, I read in the papers that woman of color came out and called me hero,” he said.
He then pushed back on the idea that he was a hero but noted that he “had to act” when he saw how scared the helpless subway passengers were at Mr. Neely’s threats, but that he took pains to try and control and restrain Mr. Neely without harming him. “What I don’t believe that I’m I’m a hero. But she was one of those people that I was trying to protect. We were all scared. Mr. Neely was yelling in these passenger spaces, and they look terrified. The reason why there was no video at the start of the altercation was because people were too afraid getting away from him. And they didn’t the videos didn’t start until they saw that situation was under control. I knew I had to act. And I acted in a way that would protect the other passengers protect myself and protect Mr. Neely. I use this whole to restrain him. And I did this by leaving my hand on top of his head to control his body. You can see in the video there’s a clear rise and fall of his chest indicating that he was still breathing. And I’m calibrating my grip based on on the force that he’s exerting,” he said.
Ending the video, Mr. Penny noted that all he wanted was for the police to show up and deal with the situation so that he wouldn’t have to, but that they weren’t there and so he had to be the one to step in and try to stop Mr. Neely from harming the other passengers. Speaking on that, he said, “And I mean, I was trying to keep them on the ground until the police came. I was praying that the police would come and take this situation. Take the situation over. I didn’t want to be put in that situation but I couldn’t just sit still and let, let him carry out these threats.”
Watch him here:
WATCH: Daniel Penny, charged with manslaughter in Jordan Neely's chokehold death on NYC subway, speaks out in new interview clips released by his attorneys.
"The three main threats that he repeated over and over was, 'I'm going to kill you,' 'I'm prepared to go to jail for… pic.twitter.com/G5h8Gx4Qin
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 12, 2023
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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