The former Marine charged in the chokehold death of Jordan Neely on a New York subway earlier this month argued that it had “nothing to do with race” in a recent interview.
Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old white man, placed Neely, a 30-year-old Black man, in a chokehold for nearly 15 minutes, while he was reportedly experiencing a mental health episode. Neely was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter nearly two weeks after Neely’s death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by neck compression. He was released pending trial hours after handing himself in at a police station and appearing in court to answer criminal charges.
“I judge a person based on their character,” Penny told the New York Post in an interview. “I’m not a white supremacist.”
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life,” he added. “What happened to him is sad. Hopefully we can change the system that has failed us so badly.”
However, when asked if he has done anything to be ashamed of, he replied, “I always do what I think is right.”
Penny and her attorneys argued that she was acting to protect herself and others on the subway. However, witnesses say that while Neely was running and screaming on the train, he did not threaten or attack anyone before Penny put him in a fatal chokehold.
Neely’s death sparked national outrage, as well as a swift political response. Shortly after Neely was killed, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) the city’s delay in charging Penny and the media coverage of the incident.
“Jordan Neely was killed,” he tweeted. “But [because] Jordan is homeless and crying for food at a time when the city is raising rents and stripping services to militarize itself while many in power demonize the poor, the killer is protected w/ passive headlines + no charges.
Conservatives, meanwhile, jumped to offer their support for Penny. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is expected to launch his 2024 presidential campaign next week, called Penny a “good Samaritan.”
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is also running for the Republican nomination, suggested that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) should pardon Penny.
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