Harrowing Details in New Subway 'Chokehold' Court Filing Should Get Daniel Penny Case Thrown Out


If any indictment ever demanded dismissal, this one does.

The case against Marine Corps veteran Daniel Penny, facing charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in New York City, came under new light in a defense motion brief reported by Fox News on Tuesday.

And the details should have the case thrown out of the courtroom.

Penny is charged in the May 1 death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old with a documented history of mental illness and violent crime.

The incident took place aboard a subway car in Manhattan, a closed environment where riders were at the mercy of a man openly menacing women and children.

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And as grand jury testimony cited in the brief makes clear — testimony that paints a picture of the atmosphere on the F train that day — those riders were terrified.

One woman described cowering with her son behind the boy’s baby stroller as Neely was making “half-lunge” movements toward riders, according to the brief.

A high school girl said she heard Neely say “someone is going to die today,” and she began to pray the subway doors would open so she could escape.

Another rider, a retired woman who’d taken the subway for decades, described how frightening it was:

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“I have been riding the subway for many years,” she said, according to the brief. “I have encountered many things, but nothing that put fear into me like that.”

And Penny took action.

“I remember, like, looking to my right, seeing the mom cover her kid, and then looking left, and in like the snap of a finger I saw Mr. Penny come up behind, put his hand on Mr. Neely, and then they were both down on the ground,” a grand jury witness testified, according to the brief.

Even in the dry legal papers, the relief in those words is almost palpable — a deliverance from evil appearing on the scene as Penny placed Neely in a chokehold and, with the assistance of two other men, ended the threat to the rest of the passengers.

In a normal place and in normal times, Penny would be applauded. No one has accused him of deliberately killing Neely. He wasn’t even arrested immediately after being questioned by police.

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But this was in Manhattan, where leftist District Attorney Alvin Bragg reigns supreme — a prosecutor who finds time to go after former President Donald Trump on ludicrous financial matters (and win liberal media acclaim) but no time to tackle the actual crime running rampant in his streets.

And in a case where he can inject race into the justice system — Penny is white, Neely was black — Bragg doesn’t hold back. Given a chance to bring the power of the legal system against a white man — a Marine Corps veteran with an honorable discharge who felt an obligation to protect the powerless — he operated true to form.

The brief filed by Penny’s defense attorneys is seeking dismissal of the case on grounds that testimony by medical examiner Cynthia Harris might have misled grand jurors as to the cause of Neely’s death.

Penny Motion to Dismiss by The Western Journal

There’s no real dispute that Penny’s chokehold resulted in Neely’s death, but the fact that Neely died an hour after the ride ended, according to the brief, tends to show that Penny never intended to end the man’s life.

More to the point, the grand jury testimony showed that people who were there, locked in a rocking subway car with a madman raging in their faces, were damn glad Penny was on the scene.

It’s practically a legal axiom that even a half-witted prosecutor can “indict a ham sandwich,” but as the legal brief notes, the New York Supreme Court has declared that “the prosecutor is charged with duty not only to secure indictments, but also to see that justice is done.”

American common sense agrees. No one is saying Jordan Neely deserved to die. Certainly, Daniel Penny has never said that, nor does any evidence show that he intended it.

But when a clearly deranged man, without fear of prison or the law, is threatening the innocent, something needs to be done, and someone needs to take action.

Penny did that — for which his fellow riders were grateful, and the rest of the country should be, too.

Neely’s death is on his own head, and whatever “justice” is for him is now well beyond human hands.

But if ever an indictment against a criminal defendant needed to be dismissed, it’s this one.

Justice demands it.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.