Lawyers for Jordan Neely's family say Daniel Penny, the man who put him in a deadly chokehold on an NYC subway, should be charged with murder
Attorneys for Jordan Neely's family say Daniel Penny should be charged with murder.
Penny has been charged with manslaughter for the chokehold subway death of Neely.
"Justice looks like a conviction and justice looks like a conviction for murder," lawyer Lennon Edwards said.
Attorneys for the family of Jordan Neely argued on Friday that Daniel Penny — the former Marine arrested for putting the Black homeless man in a fatal chokehold on a New York City subway — should have been charged with murder instead of manslaughter.
"Justice looks like a conviction and justice looks like a conviction for murder," lawyer Lennon Edwards said during a press conference on Friday alongside Neely's devastated family members.
Edwards said that Penny "intentionally chose a technique to use that is designed to cut off air" when he went after Neely aboard an F train on May 1 and placed him in a chokehold, killing him.
"He chose to continue to hold that chokehold minute after minute, second after second until there was no life left in Jordan Neely," Edwards said of Penny. "That's the choice that he made and he did it intentionally, so we believe that the conviction should be for murder because that's intentional."
Another attorney representing Neely's family, Donte Mills, added that Penny could have chosen to let go of Neely, but didn't.
"He had to know he would die. He had to," Mills said.
Penny, 24, turned himself in to the New York Police Department's 5th Precinct in lower Manhattan Friday morning and was arrested on a charge of second-degree manslaughter in connection to the death of 30-year-old Neely.
During Penny's arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass said that Penny held Neely for several minutes, even after he stopped moving.
Witnesses to the deadly ordeal have said Neely was screaming about being hungry and thirsty before Penny put him in a chokehold.
Steinglass said at the arraignment that "several witnesses observed Mr. Neely making threats and scaring passengers" before Penny confronted him from behind and "placed him in a chokehold, taking him down to the ground."
When the subway arrived at the next stop in Manhattan, Penny "continued to hold Mr. Neely in the chokehold for several minutes," Steinglass said.
Two other men on the train then "aided" Penny "by restraining Mr. Neely's arms," the prosecutor said.
"At some point, Mr. Neely stopped moving," said Steinglass, explaining, "The defendant continued to hold Mr. Neely for a period and then released him."
First responders who arrived at the scene rushed an unresponsive and unconscious Neely to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that Neely died due to "compression of neck" and classified his death as a homicide.
Penny, who was captured on cell phone video putting Neely in the chokehold, was released on $100,000 bond following his court appearance. Penny has been required to surrender any passports within 48 hours and must get permission from the court if he wants to leave the state of New York.
If convicted of manslaughter, Penny would face a minimum of three-and-a-half years in prison, and as much as 15 years behind bars.
"Ask yourself, is that enough? Is that enough for someone who choked somebody out on the train and took their life?" Mills said during his Friday press conference.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement on Friday that his office "determined there was probable cause to arrest Daniel Penny and arraign him on felony charges" after evaluating the "available facts and evidence" in the case.
"Jordan Neely should still be alive today, and my thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss during this extremely painful time," Bragg said.
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