Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been visible in some high-profile cases in recent months, including Former President Donald Trump’s historic arraignment last month. Today (May 11), Bragg’s office announced that he’s moving forward with criminal charges against Daniel Penny, the man who placed Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold on May 1.
“We can confirm that Daniel Penny will be arrested on a charge of manslaughter in the second degree,” a spokesperson for Bragg said, per ABC News. “We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place tomorrow.”
The accountability comes after days of protests and calls for justice for Neely’s death. His demise at the hands of a 24-year-old Marine veteran sparked debates about vigilantism and the criminalization of homelessness and mental illness. Prior to his death, the well-known Michael Jackson impersonator was pleading for food and water as he spoke about wanting his life to be over.
Attorneys for Penny defended their client’s actions that day. “Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness,” a statement from his legal team said. “When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves, until help arrived. Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”
Mayor Eric Adams has been criticized by progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for maintaining a seemingly neutral stance in the case. In a video address yesterday, Adams insisted that Neely should have never died in such a way.
“Jordan Neely did not deserve to die,” the mayor stated plainly. “Jordan Neely’s life mattered. He was suffering from severe mental illness, but that was not the cause of his death. His death is a tragedy that never should have happened.”
“We cannot and will not accept this state of affairs,” he continued. “We will not walk by those in need, step over those who are suffering, or ignore those calls for help. We will respond with care, compassion, and action.”
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