Marine Veteran Penny Indicted By Manhattan Grand Jury

Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old Marine veteran, has been indicted on second-degree manslaughter charges by a Manhattan grand jury. His alleged crime involves a fatal chokehold that led to the death of Jordan Neely, a homeless man with a history of mental illness who threatened the safety of subway passengers.

According to witnesses, Neely was loudly threatening the lives of fellow passengers and openly stated his willingness to go to jail or even die. It was in this escalating situation that Penny, a former Marine trained to respond in high-stress events, stepped in to quell the threat.

Penny has maintained throughout that he saw not the color of Neely’s skin but the danger he posed. “I didn’t see a Black man threatening passengers. I saw a man threatening passengers,” he explained. In this atmosphere of fear and tension, where escape was impossible, Penny put Neely in a chokehold, leading to the latter’s death.

Freelance journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez was present during the incident and offered a perspective that lends weight to Penny’s account. According to Vazquez, Neely was “screaming all these things” and made it clear that he had little care for the consequences. Another anonymous passenger labeled Penny a “hero,” indicating the gratitude of those who believed they were in imminent danger.

The incident and Penny’s subsequent indictment have driven a wedge through public opinion. On one side, some condemn Penny’s action, viewing it through a lens clouded by race. On the other, those who see Penny’s actions as a justified response to a clear and present danger.

Penny’s lawyers remain confident that a trial jury will find his actions justified when presented with the evidence and context. If convicted, however, Penny faces a sentence of up to 15 years.
The indictment of Daniel Penny serves as a reminder of the deep-seated challenges we face in society, like mental health and public safety. But it also underscores the urgent need for balance between acting to protect innocent lives and avoiding fatal outcomes. Where this balance lies is a debate that remains open. For now, the fate of a young Marine veteran hangs in the balance.