The attorney for 24-year-old former Marine Daniel Penny said during an interview on Monday that the Jordan Neely had started “swinging his arms at passengers” on a subway in New York City when his client stepped in to protect the passengers.
Penny placed Neely, a homeless man with over 40 arrests and a history of mental health issues, in a chokehold after Neely embarked on an aggressive rant and began screaming that he did not care if he went to jail.
Appearing in his first interview for the case, attorney Steve Raiser was asked by Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro what Penny’s mindset was when he put Neely into a chokehold.
“He was fearful for the safety of those passengers,” Raiser said. “So when he acted, his mindset was to keep his fellow passengers safe from attack. Neely entering the train and acting in a very violent manner, both physically and with words. He would say things to the effect that, you know, I need certain things, I need food, I need this or that. And if I don’t get it, I don’t care if I go to prison for the rest of my life. And the passengers actually have said that they interpreted that to mean, well, when would you go to prison for the rest of your life if you kill somebody? So everybody got the message.”
Raiser said that the situation rapidly escalated to the point where Neely was “swinging his arms at passengers, throwing his jacket down, [and] making threats” toward the passengers.
Raiser says that they were told that a grand jury was going to be impaneled to go through “a very deliberate process” to determine if charges should be brought in the case and that they “got a call one night before Danny was asked to surrender and said he’s got to surrender to the police department tomorrow so at that point we were like, what do you mean tomorrow, this was going to be a long process suddenly it’s tomorrow.”
Raiser dismissed critics who claim that Penny only acted because Neely was black.
“None of that is based on the facts,” he said. “As to race, it’s simply not the motivation for Danny. He is the one that put himself in danger, to save who? All the people on that train. Black people, brown people, white people, it didn’t matter to Danny. Danny put his life at risk to save all those people. It has nothing to do with race.”