The Complex Case of Daniel Penny: A Closer Look at the Subway Chokehold Incident

In a recent development in the case against Daniel Penny, the accused in the NYC subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely, a New York judge has declined to dismiss the charges of manslaughter. This article delves into the intricate details of the incident, the legal proceedings, and the various perspectives surrounding the case.

Background of the Incident

The tragic event occurred on May 1, when Daniel Penny, a white individual, put 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a Black man experiencing homelessness, in a fatal chokehold on a subway car. Neely, acting erratically, faced a swift and tragic end due to the actions of Penny.

Legal Proceedings: Motion to Dismiss

Penny’s defense team had filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Penny did not intend harm and was acting to protect other passengers on the subway. However, the judge’s recent decision highlights the importance of medical evidence and deems the case legally sufficient to proceed to trial.

Judge’s Decision and Medical Evidence

Judge Maxwell Wiley emphasized the role of medical evidence, indicating how Neely’s movements shifted from voluntary to those associated with death during the prolonged chokehold. The judge pointed out the injuries on Neely’s neck, further solidifying the argument that Penny’s actions caused Neely’s death.

Witness Accounts and Varying Perspectives

The case involves a myriad of witness accounts, with varying perspectives on Neely’s behavior and the level of danger he posed. The crowded subway car adds complexity to the situation, as not all passengers had a direct line of vision to witness the events unfold.

Penny’s Defense: Protection of Passengers

Despite the judge’s decision, Penny’s defense maintains that he put Neely in a chokehold to protect fellow riders. They express confidence that a jury, aware of Penny’s intentions, will deliver a just verdict.

Next Steps: Trial and Conference Meetings

With the judge denying the motion to dismiss, the case is set to move forward and likely go to trial. The upcoming conference meeting on March 20 will play a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of the legal proceedings.

Jordan Neely: A Tragic Background

Understanding the context of Neely’s life is essential. Experiencing homelessness and grappling with poor mental health, Neely’s struggles began at a young age after his mother’s tragic death.

Daniel Penny’s Actions: A Six-Minute Chokehold

More than a dozen witnesses provide varying accounts of the moments leading to Neely’s death. Penny’s actions, captured on video, reveal a six-minute chokehold, raising questions about the proportionality of force used.

Police Response and Penny’s Surrender

The police response to the 911 call, the discovery of Neely unconscious, and Penny’s subsequent surrender contribute to the timeline of events. Penny turning himself in after being charged with manslaughter adds another layer to the narrative.

Prosecutors’ Argument: Varying Witness Accounts

Prosecutors argue that witness accounts presented by the defense may selectively highlight or downplay the fear Neely caused. They emphasize the need for additional evidence, including witness accounts from subway passengers familiar with similar outbursts.

The Role of Mental Health in Neely’s Behavior

Examining Neely’s mental health is crucial to understanding his behavior on the subway. Lawyers for his family shed light on the trauma he experienced after his mother’s murder at a young age.

Prosecutors’ Call for Additional Evidence

District attorneys argue that more evidence is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the case. Varying witness accounts and the absence of physical contact with others until the chokehold raise questions that require thorough exploration.

Legal Implications and Potential Verdicts

The legal implications of the case, including charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, hinge on whether Penny’s actions constituted reckless conduct creating an unjustifiable risk of death.

Public Perception and Media Coverage

The case has garnered significant attention, with media coverage shaping public perception. The nuances of the legal proceedings, witness accounts, and the role of mental health in Neely’s actions contribute to the complexity of public opinion.


The case against Daniel Penny unfolds with intricate details, challenging the legal system to navigate through varying perspectives, witness accounts, and the complexities of mental health. As the trial approaches, the pursuit of justice remains at the forefront.


  1. Q: What charges does Daniel Penny face?
    • A: Daniel Penny is indicted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
  2. Q: Why did the judge deny the motion to dismiss?
    • A: The judge emphasized the legal sufficiency of evidence, indicating that Penny’s actions led to Jordan Neely’s death.
  3. Q: What is the significance of the upcoming conference meeting on March 20?
    • A: The conference meeting will play a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of the legal proceedings.
  4. Q: How did Jordan Neely’s background contribute to his actions on the subway?
    • A: Neely’s experiences of homelessness and trauma, including his mother’s murder, played a role in his behavior.
  5. Q: What is the prosecutors’ argument regarding witness accounts?
    • A: Prosecutors contend that additional evidence is needed, and witness accounts may selectively highlight or downplay the fear caused by Neely.

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