Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Charges Against Daniel Penny

A New York City judge has denied a motion to dismiss the charges against U.S. Marine veteran Daniel Penny, the man who subdued a mentally ill homeless man on a New York City subway who was threatening other passengers, leading to the man’s death.

The incident, which occurred in May 2023, made headlines as it underscored the deep divide in the United States over the right to self-defense and the defense of others — as well as the issues of mental health, homelessness, and rampant crime in New York City.

During the incident, the homeless man Jordan Neely — who has been arrested at least 42 times in the past decade, including for attempting to kidnap a seven-year-old girl — was seen screaming threats at his fellow subway passengers and acting erratically. Penny responded to these threats by placing Neely in a chokehold to subdue him and prevent him from becoming violent. The Marine veteran was joined by at least two other passengers in the effort to subdue Neely, who fell unconscious during the incident. Penny ultimately tried to save the homeless man’s life, putting him in a “recovery position,” though his efforts were unsuccessful.

The Marine veteran has spoken out about the incident, arguing that he was “trying to protect passengers.” Police have claimed that Penny is guilty because he was not “specifically being threatened by Neely when he intervened” and that the homeless man was not “threatening anyone in particular.”

Penny pushed back on those claims, pointing out that the “three main threats that he repeated over and over were ‘I’m going to kill you,’ ‘I’m prepared to go to jail for life,’ and ‘I’m willing to die.’”

“Some people say that I was holding onto Mr. Neely for 15 minutes. This is not true,” he added. “The whole interaction was less than five minutes. People say I was trying to choke him to death, which is also not true. I was trying to restrain him.”

Fellow passengers have thanked Penny for his actions, with several stating that they were terrified of Neely and that the incident was “absolutely traumatizing.”

Penny was later charged by notoriously soft-on-crime Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) with second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The judge in Penny’s case has denied a motion brought forth by his attorneys, Steven Raiser and Thomas Kenniff, to dismiss the charges against him.

Raiser and Kenniff have since issued a statement disagreeing with the judge’s decision.

“While we disagree with the Court’s decision not to dismiss the indictment, we understand that the legal threshold to continue even an ill-conceived prosecution is very low,” the statement read. “We are confident that a jury, aware of Danny’s actions in putting aside his own safety to protect the lives of his fellow riders, will deliver a just verdict. Danny is grateful for the continued prayers and support through this difficult process.”