Lawyers for Jordan Neely’s family condemned Marine veteran Daniel Penny’s recent statement following Neely’s subway chokehold death as “character assassination.”
In a press release issued by Penny’s legal team Friday, they defended his actions in New York City May 1 as self-defense and conveyed his condolences to Neely’s family.
Attorneys Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards, who represent Neely’s family, pushed back Monday.
“Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret,” wrote the attorneys. “It is character assassination and a clear example of why he believed he was entitled to take Jordan’s life. In short, his actions on the train, and now his words, show why he needs to be in prison.”
According to a freelance journalist who recorded the footage, the deadly confrontation unfolded after Neely entered a northbound F train acting erratically and threatening passengers.
Penny, 24, was captured on video dragging Neely to the ground and placing him in a headlock, leading to Neely losing consciousness and dying.
Mills and Edwards emphasized that Penny did not know Neely’s mental health history when he “intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordan’s neck and squeezed and kept squeezing.”
In Friday’s statement from Penny’s lawyers, Steven Raiser and Thomas Kenniff, they wrote that Neely “had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness.”
They argued that Penny and two other passengers acted in self-defense to protect themselves until help arrived and could not have anticipated Neely’s unfortunate death.
Kaiser and Kenniff blamed elected officials for failing to address the city’s mental health crisis.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg previously announced an investigation into Neely’s death, which the city’s medical examiner ruled was a homicide caused by neck compression.
The killing has sparked public outrage and led to widespread protests across the city, with demonstrators demanding that Penny be charged with murder. Many commuters, frustrated by rampant crime on the subway system, have expressed support for Penny.
Over the weekend, authorities arrested a dozen protesters on charges ranging from resisting arrest, assault, and unlawful interference with a railroad train.
On Saturday, a group of chanting demonstrators briefly disrupted subway service for about 30 minutes by entering the tracks at the Lexington Avenue-63rd Street station at about 6 p.m.
The New York Police Department released photographs of six people suspected of criminal trespass for their involvement in the incident. The suspects fled the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.