U.S.Marine veteran Daniel Penny finally broke his silence over the death of Jordan Neely in a series of videos released on Sunday. The 24-year-old defended his actions, stating he was merely trying to protect fellow passengers on a New York subway car from Neely, a threatening figure who had made explicit and dire threats against the travelers.
“I didn’t see a black man threatening passengers, I saw a man threatening passengers, a lot of whom were people of color,” Penny claimed, seeking to clarify his motive and counter the allegations of racial bias in his actions.
Penny’s move to tackle Neely, who was larger in stature and perceived as violent, reopens the debate on the public’s responsibility and limits of self-defense. While his actions have landed him with a manslaughter charge, his defenders point to the disturbing circumstances he found himself in as justification.
New video released by Daniel Penny.pic.twitter.com/ITZumm4iWU
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) June 12, 2023
Penny recalls, “The man stumbled on, he appeared to be on drugs… 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.’” According to Penny, fear is not absent in Marines; they are taught to handle fear, implying that he utilized his training in this terrifying moment.
Addressing claims that he held Neely in a chokehold for 15 minutes, Penny said, “This is not true — between stops is only a couple of minutes. So the whole interaction lasted less than 5 minutes. Some people say I was trying to choke him to death — which is also not true. I was trying to restrain him.”
Neely’s death sparked protests throughout New York City, igniting discussions on race and law enforcement. Some labeled Penny a “murderer” and a racist, severely affecting him. However, Penny insisted that the incident had nothing to do with race and pointed out that the individual who helped him restrain Neely was a person of color.
The situation challenges Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has charged Penny with manslaughter. Neely, often seen impersonating Michael Jackson, was a known figure with a history of mental illness and even had an active warrant out for his arrest for a felony assault.
Penny concluded, “I was trying to keep him on the ground until the police came. I didn’t want to be put in that situation, but I couldn’t just sit still and let him carry out these threats.”