Daniel Penny Charged With Manslaughter In Subway Chokehold Death Of Jordan Neely

Marine veteran Daniel Penny was arraigned today on a single second-degree manslaughter charge in the May 1 subway chokehold death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely, the homeless Michael Jackson impersonator who had a history of mental illness.

Penny, 24, did not enter a plea at his Manhattan Criminal Court arraignment hearing today. He was freed on a $100,000 bond, with his next court appearance scheduled for July 17.

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If convicted, Penny could face between five and 15 years in prison.

Neely’s death, ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner, has set off days of protests and arrests in New York City, with protesters angered both by Neely’s death – he was Black, Penny is white – and what they perceive as the New York Police Department’s slow response to arresting Penny.

The subway death has dominated New York’s local news coverage for more than a week, and has received considerable national coverage on cable and broadcast channels.

Penny’s lawyers maintain that their client was acting in defense of himself and other F train passengers after Neely began shouting in the subway car. Penny, they said, acted to contain “a supposed perceived threat” and that he could “not have foreseen” Neely’s death from the chokehold.

A fellow passenger’s cell phone video of the incident has divided the nation, with some viewers seeing a justified response to erratic and potentially violent behavior, and others seeing an unprovoked, exaggerated response triggered by the growing presence of mentally ill homeless people in the city’s subways.

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