On May 1, Daniel Penny was riding aboard the F train in Manhattan when Jordan Nelely, a 30-year-old homeless man started yelling at passengers and throwing things. Penny, a former marine, tried to put an end to Neely’s tirade by placing him in a chokehold, but that chokehold proved to be fatal moments later.
The incident was caught on camera and went viral on social media almost immediately, with some people claiming Penny’s actions were racially motivated. Penny was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter for his role in Neely’s death but has since been freed on $100,000 bail as he awaits trial.
After nearly three weeks of silence, Daniel Penny is finally speaking out about the incident and sharing his side of the story. He sat down for an interview with The New York Post on Saturday and dispelled rumors that he’s a ‘white supremacist and confirmed his actions on the train weren’t motivated by hate or racism.
“This had nothing to do with race,” he says – further emphasizing that he judges people based on character, not race. “I mean, it’s, it’s a little bit comical. Everybody who’s ever met me can tell you, I love all people, I love all cultures. You can tell by my past and all my travels and adventures around the world.”
He describes himself as a ‘normal guy’ who was trying to do the right thing, but things took an unexpected turn for the worse. While he understands that the charges against him are serious, he’s confident that he’ll be exonerated once his case goes to trial, with his lawyers saying he’ll be ‘absolved of any wrongdoing.’
According to Penny, he wasn’t the only one that felt terrorized and threatened by Neely on the train. There are ‘numerous witnesses’ who are ‘uniform in their recollection of events,’ all of whom agree he was acting in a threatening way. While no one meant for him to get hurt, that’s unfortunately what happened.
Of course, there are others who feel Penny’s actions were excessive – including the family of Jordan Neely, who want Penny to be tried for murder. As of today, Daniel Penny is being tried for second-degree manslaughter and the district attorney has six months to secure a grand jury indictment against him.
Daniel Penny Blames the Broken System We Live In
Daniel Penny, on numerous occasions, emphasized that he wasn’t trying to kill Jordan Neely – instead, he was trying to defend himself and the other passengers aboard the subway train, from a threatening homeless man. It has also been reported that Neely has a history of mental illness and past arrests.
While he is ‘deeply saddened by the loss of life’ and calls Neely’s death tragic, he admitted he wouldn’t do anything differently if he could go back in time – he believes he was doing the right thing. “It’s tragic what happened to him. Hopefully, we can change the system that’s so desperately failed us,” Penny says.
Penny also talked about his time in the Marines – he served for four years between 2017 and 2021. He never thought he would become a leader in the Marines, but eventually earned the rank of sergeant. He described leaving the Marines as a ‘tough transition,’ missing the interaction and adventure it brings.
In the year leading up to his incident on the subway, Daniel Penny went on a cross-country road trip and found himself crossing the border into Mexico. He described getting stuck in a landslide and even a tornado during the trip but made it out of both situations safely. Now, he’s being tried for manslaughter.
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