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Daniel Penny Enters Not Guilty Plea

Penny is facing second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for the death of Jordan Neely on a New York City subway

Daniel Penny has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection to the death of Jordan Neely.

Penny held Neely, a homeless street performer, in a chokehold after he threatened passengers on a New York City Subway on May 1. According to eyewitnesses, Neely yelled that he was “ready to die” and shouted “I’m gonna kill you” at subway riders. Two other men helped restrain Neely and the video from inside the subway car was posted online.

Neely was taken to a hospital and ultimately pronounced dead. The 30-year-old’s death was ruled a homicide by the chief medical examiner’s office, which noted the justice system would be tasked with determining criminal culpability, per The Hill. 

Protestors held a rally in Brooklyn and blocked subway trains, yelling “no justice, no peace” after news of Neely’s death became public. At least 13 people were arrested at Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street in connection to the protests. As of June 23, the Manhattan DA’s Office has dropped the charges against almost all the protestors facing misdemeanor charges.

“After a comprehensive review, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has declined to prosecute or dismissed all misdemeanor cases related to Jordan Neely protests,” said Doug Cohen, a spokesman for DA Alvin Bragg, per The Denver Gazette. “These matters are now sealed.”

Penny, a 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran, was initially questioned by police and let go. In response to public outcry, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced to the media that charges would be brought against Neely. Penny surrendered to the police on May 12 and was released on bail.

A grand jury voted to indict Penny on June 14. Attorneys for Penny said “that the standard of proof in a grand jury is very low.”

“We’re confident that when a trial jury is tasked with weighing the evidence, they will find Daniel Penny’s actions on that train were fully justified,” said attorney Steven Raiser in a statement, per ABC News.  

A fundraiser to aid in Penny’s legal defense surpassed over $2.9 million.

On June 28, Penny enter a not-guilty plea while appearing in Manhattan Supreme Court. Penny could face up to 19 years in prison if convicted. His attorneys have maintained that the Long Island native “acted reasonably under the circumstances and he was justified in the actions he took, however unfortunate the consequences,” per The New York Post.

During the trial, the jury will likely hear about Neely’s documented history of mental health issues and previous criminal history, which included multiple assaults in New York City subways. 

Penny will next appear in court on Oct. 25.

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