Lawyers for Marine veteran Daniel Penny released a series of videos Sunday in which Penny detailed the moment’s leading up to the confrontation with Jordan Neely, who, according to Penny and multiple witnesses, was threatening passengers and saying he was “willing to die” before he was restrained. Penny is currently facing manslaughter charges after career criminal Jordan Neely died shortly after he was restrained by Penny and two additional passengers.
In a series of videos released by Penny’s lawyers on Sunday, the 24-year-old denied reports that he held Neely in a chokehold for 15 minutes. That detail was extensively reported in the days following the incident after a statement from independent journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who witnessed the incident.
“Some people say that I was holding on to Mr. Neely for 15 minutes. This is not true — between stops is only a couple of minutes. So the whole interaction lasted less than 5 minutes,” Penny clarified.
Footage later emerged that showed Penny releasing the chokehold and placing Neely in a recovery position while one passenger thanked him for intervening.
When describing his account of the incident, Penny stressed that he never intended to kill Neely.
“The man stumbled on, he appeared to be on drugs, the doors closed, and he ripped his jacket off and threw it down at the people sitting next to me at my left,” Penny, a New York City resident, recounted. “I was listening to music at the time, and I took my headphones out to hear what he was yelling,” he continued. “The three main threats that he repeated over and over again were I’m going to kill you, I’m prepared to go to jail for life and I’m willing to die.”
Penny noted that he was intimidated by Neely, who was bigger than him and was repeatedly yelling in “terrified” passengers’ faces.
“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,” Penny stated. “I was scared for myself but I looked around there was women and children, he was yelling in their faces saying these threats. I just couldn’t sit still.”
“Some people say I was trying to choke him to death, which is also not true. I was trying to restrain him,” he added. “You can see in the video there’s a clear rise and fall of his chest, indicating that he’s breathing. I’m trying to restrain him from being able to carry out the threats.”
Penny went on to vehemently deny accusations that race played a role in the incident. “I didn’t see a black man threatening passengers, I saw a man threatening passengers, a lot of whom were people of color,” Penny said. At least two additional passengers helped him restrain Neely, neither of whom were white.
“The man who helped restrain Mr. Neely was a person of color,” he pointed out. “A few days after the incident I read in the papers that a woman of color came out and called me a hero. I don’t believe that I’m a hero, but she was one of those people I was trying to protect, who were all scared,” he added.
Penny is currently facing manslaughter charges after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Office opted to prosecute. He is due back in court on July 17.
JUST IN: Daniel Penny says Jordan Neely was threatening to kill people on the subway and said he was prepared go to jail for life or die before Penny put him in a choke hold.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) June 12, 2023
“The three main threats he repeated over and over was: I’m going to kill you. I’m prepared to go to jail… pic.twitter.com/nunZZcZyPn