US Marine veteran Daniel Penny (C) is walked out of the New York Police Department 5th Precinct in Lower Manhattan, May 12, 2023 on his way to a arraignment after he surrendered to authorities after being charged with 2nd Degree Manslaughter in the chokehold death of Jordan Neely. The death of Jordan Neely — widely identified as a Michael Jackson impersonator who often performed on the train — earlier this month sparked outrage.InternationalIndiaAfricaThe strangling death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a homeless man who was put in a chokehold by a bystander on a New York subway earlier this month, provoked demonstrations in several US cities after police allowed the bystander, 24-year-old Daniel Penny, to leave without charges.Appearing before a New York magistrate on Friday after surrendering himself to authorities, Daniel Penny was informed he was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Jordan Neely’s death. Penny has not yet entered a plea, as a grand jury has not yet indicted him. He was released on $100,000 bail and ordered to surrender his passport within 48 hours.A former US Marine, Penny was not initially charged with the death of Neely on a New York F Train subway on May 1. However, after the medical examiner’s office found Neely died via compression of the neck, and following large street demonstrations demanding justice, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office found sufficient cause to charge him with Neely’s death.Footage and testimonies from the scene showed Penny had held Neely in a chokehold for more than four minutes as Neely struggled to free himself before his body went limp, after which Penny held Neely in the position for another 50 seconds.
Neely, who was Black and homeless, was well-known in New York as a talented impersonator of R&B singer Michael Jackson, which he performed on subway trains as well as the sidewalk for more than a decade before his death.
He was believed to suffer from mental illness. At the time of the encounter with Penny, Neely was said to have been yelling about his frustration with being hungry and homeless.
AmericasNew York Officials Point to Role of Mental Health After Chokehold Death of Subway Rider5 May, 00:30 GMTPenny’s identity was not initially known after the killing, as police released him without charge. After online sleuths purported to have identified him several days later, Penny’s lawyers released a statement on his behalf expressing regret for Neely’s death. The New York Police Department then confirmed his identity to the press.
Outrage over Neely’s death in New York comes amid fury over the death of another homeless Black man, 24-year-old Banko Brown, across the country in San Francisco.
Brown, who was transgender, was shot to death by a security guard at a Walgreens drug store on April 27 after the guard suspected him of shoplifting. The city’s District Attorney’s Office has said the guard will not be charged, finding he acted in reasonable self-defense.
Demonstrations in that California city have demanded security footage of the incident be released, and similar to those following Neely’s death, have called attention to the plight of homeless people amid rising costs of living driven upward by record inflation.