Daniel Penny Speaks Out About Death Of Jordan Neely, Disputes Key Claim About Headlock
US Marine veteran Daniel Penny 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.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Daniel Penny, the man who put Jordan Neely into a fatal headlock aboard a New York City subway train on May 1, is disputing the claim that his restraint lasted for 15 minutes.

In new video clips released on Sunday by his lawyers, according to CBS News, Penny said he jumped into action to protect people on the train whom Neely was allegedly threatening, but did not intend to kill the man.

“The three main threats that he repeated over and over was, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ ‘I’m prepared to go to jail for life,’ and ‘I’m willing to die,'” Penny said after noting that Neely appeared to have been on drugs.

Penny said he was “scared” for himself. “But I looked around, I saw women and children. He was yelling in their faces, saying these threats. I couldn’t just sit still,” he added.

Penny, who has been identified as a college student and Marine veteran in his mid-20s, said the encounter lasted less than five minutes, far less time than has been widely reported.

“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 five minutes,” Penny said.

“Some people say I was trying to choke him to death, which is also not true. I was trying to restrain him,” Penny 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.”

In addition, Penny denied that race was a motivating factor. He called such claims “absolutely ridiculous,” adding, “I didn’t see a black man threatening passengers. I saw a man threatening passengers, a lot of whom were people of color.”

The restraint was captured on a video that went viral on social media, leading to it become a national news story. The bystander video showed a man, later identified as Penny, already restraining Neely in a headlock on the floor of a subway train with the help of others. Neely appeared to lose consciousness and was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to the Associated Press.

The claim that Penny held Neely for about 15 minutes appears to have come from news reports citing a witness, freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, who recorded the short videos of the restraint in the minutes after the headlock began, leading up to when police responded to the scene. As reported by Yahoo News, Vazquez described the incident on Facebook, saying, “I witnessed a murder on the Manhattan subway today.”

Lawyers representing Neely’s family have picked up on the claim that Penny held Neely in a headlock for 15 minutes as they demand Penny face a murder charge. “Daniel Penny wasn’t attacked, he wasn’t hit. But he put him [Neely] in a chokehold. He came up from behind and he didn’t let Jordan go for 15 minutes,” attorney Donte Mills said, according to local news station PIX11.


New York City’s medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide due to “compression of neck (chokehold),” but the ruling did not determine culpability. That changed when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg came in with the second-degree manslaughter charge against Penny.

Penny surrendered to law enforcement in New York to be arraigned one month ago. He did not enter a plea and was released on $100,000 bail. Penny is scheduled to be back in court on July 17. If convicted on the manslaughter charge, Penny faces up to 15 years in prison.

Attorneys representing Penny said they “fully expect that Danny will be exonerated of all charges,” according to ABC News.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Daniel Penny Speaks Out About Death Of Jordan Neely, Disputes Key Claim About Headlock