Jordan Neely's family calls Daniel Penny's statement 'admission of guilt' in their own new statement

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 8, 2023
Jordan Neely's death sparks protest on subway tracks
As police search for trespassers in the protest, the public awaits whether a grand jury will charge Daniel Penny for putting Neely in the deadly chokehold. Derick Waller reports.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Jordan Neely's family released a statement Monday morning in response to the one that Daniel Penny released last week.

The statements follow 30-year-old Neely's death on the subway last week after 24-year-old former Marine Penny allegedly put Neely in a chokehold.

"Daniel Penny's press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret. It is a character assassination and a clear example of why he believed he was entitled to take Jordan's life. In the first paragraph, he talks about how 'good' he is and the next paragraph he talks about how 'bad' Jordan was in an effort to convince us Jordan's life was 'worthless.' The truth is, he knew nothing about Jordan's history when he intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordan's neck, and squeezed and kept squeezing. In the last paragraph, Daniel Penny suggests that the general public has shown 'indifference' for people like Jordan, but that term is more appropriately used to describe himself. It is clear he is the one who acted with indifference, both at the time he killed Jordan and now in his first public message. He never attempted to help him at all. In short, his actions on the train, and now his words, show why he needs to be in prison," attorneys Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards said.

Mayor Eric Adams has criticized some other politicians' rush to judgment, and Neely's family's attorneys say they want the mayor to see things their way.

"Mayor Eric Adams, give us a call," Mills said. "The family wants you to know Jordan matters. You seem to think others are more important than him."

RELATED| Jordan Neely's family calls chokehold death on subway an 'injustice'

Eyewitness News spoke to family members of Jordan Neely, the subway performer who was choked to death on an uptown F train.

On Friday, Penny's lawyers released a statement saying:

"The law firm of Raiser and Kenniff, P.C. represents Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old college student and Marine veteran. Earlier this week Daniel Penny was involved in a tragic incident on the NYC Subway, which ended in the death of Jordan Neely.

"We would first like to express, on behalf of Daniel Penny, our condolences to those close to Mr. Neely. Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness. When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves, until help arrived. Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.

"For too long, those suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference. We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and subways."

A grand jury is expected to decide if this week if Penny will be criminally charged for putting Neely into the chokehold that led to his death.

Neely had been previously arrested 44 times for multiple assaults, attempted child abduction, drugs, and indecent exposure. Officials say he had at least 43 cases of an "aided case," where mental healthcare workers took him in for treatment.

The day before his death he was under investigation for pushing someone on the tracks. There was currently an arrest warrant for Neely in the violent attack on an older woman.

As demonstrators cried out over the weekend, friends remembered a street performer who impersonated Michael Jackson. Neely's friends also say this was a man who needed proper psychiatric help.

"When I hear that he was yelling and ranting, last time I checked, the penalty for ranting is not death," Neely's friend Lance Clarke said.


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