Amid rising protests calling for justice in the case of Jordan Neely, his family is demanding charges against the man who put their loved one in a chokehold. Daniel Penny, an ex-marine from Long Island, choked Neely, who was reportedly unhoused and asking for food, on a New York subway car on May 3.
On Monday, the legal team representing Neely’s family released a statement calling out Penny, who was identified as one of Neely’s assailants by numerous publications. Penny, who has not been charged, confirmed his involvement in a statement on May 5, alleging that Neely was “making threats” toward passengers. Neely’s family calls this retelling of events a “character assassination.”
Penny’s “actions on the train, and now his words, show why he needs to be in prison,” said attorneys Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards on behalf of Neely’s family.
Jordan Neely's family has released a statement: “Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret.” pic.twitter.com/dQJTxKFfWW
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 8, 2023
Neely’s death, recently ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner, has led to protests in New York. On May 6, police broke up a demonstration with an estimated 300 people on a packed Subway platform at the 63rd Street-Lexington Avenue station. Thirteen protesters were arrested, according to Gothamist.
So far, law enforcement has not indicated whether or not Penny will be charged in the near future, and New York’s leaders haven’t said much in terms of accountability. While some like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded a response, Mayor Eric Adams only offered middling deflections about mental health and failed to condemn Penny’s act of violence. During an interview with CNN, Adams said: “We cannot just blanketly say what a passenger should or should not do in a situation like that.”
In their statement, Neely’s family members expressed interest in meeting with Adams, urging the mayor to “give us a call” and writing, “The family wants you to know that Jordan matters.”