Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old US Marine Corps veteran, was charged with manslaughter after video captured him holding Jordan Neely in a rear naked choke on a New York City subway train. Neely, 30, died due to “compression of the neck”, according to a medical examiner. His death was ruled as a homicide.
Penny, whose legal defense fund includes hefty donations from Kid Rock and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is speaking out about the incident, through videos released by his attorneys.
Daniel Penny claims Jordan Neely was a threat
“This was a scary situation,” Penny said in one of the released clips (per Law & Crime). “The three main threats he repeated over and over were ‘I’m going to kill you. I’m prepared to go to jail for life and I’m willing to die.’”
Juan Alberto Vazquez, who filmed Neely’s death under the arms of Penny, also commented on what Neely said in his final moments.
“I don’t have food, I don’t have a drink, I’m fed up. I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I’m ready to die,” said Vazquez, when quoting Neely to The New York Times.
“[Neely] stopped the door from closing and he got on the train. And he stood in the middle of the train car, and then he started yelling that he didn’t have food, that he didn’t have water. From what I understood, he was yelling that he was tired, that he didn’t care about going to jail,” repeated Vasquez when interviewed by Curbed.
Penny also claimed that the length of time he held Neely in the fatal chokehold has been misreported.
“Some people say I was holding on to Mr. Neely for 15 minutes. This is not true,” he said. “The reason why there’s no video at the start of the altercation is because people were too afraid getting away from him.”
Vasquez told Curbed when and why he started filming the incident.
“I tried to start filming from that moment [of Neely saying he didn’t care about going to jail], but I didn’t because I couldn’t see anything – it was too crowded,” said Vasquez. “And then I heard him take off his jacket. He bundled it up and just threw it on the floor, very violently. You could hear the sound of the zipper hitting the floor. At that moment, when he threw the jacket, the people who were sitting around him stood up and moved away. He kept standing there and he kept yelling.”
“It’s at that moment that this man came up behind him and grabbed him by the neck, and I think – I didn’t see, but I think – that move of grabbing him by the neck also led him to grab Neely by the legs with his own,” continued Vasquez. “They both fell. And then in like 30 seconds, I don’t know, we got to Broadway–Lafayette, and they were just there on the floor.
Penny said he was hoping the authorities would arrive while he was holding Neely. “I was praying that the police would come and take this situation over. I couldn’t sit still and let him carry out these threats.”
Jordan Neely’s death sparked protests across New York
Jordan Neely’s death has sparked protests and demonstrations across the U.S. Many of these demonstrations focus on the rate at which Black people are killed by White people in the United States, particularly White people in positions of authority. Neely’s death has often been compared to the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd, two Black men who were killed by White police officers via compression of the neck.
If you’re pleasantly surprised to see an MMA blog covering topics like this, please subscribe to the Bloody Elbow newsletter and learn how you can support the site.
About the author