Daniel Penny, the Marine Corps veteran who placed Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold on a New York City subway train last month, was indicted on a second-degree manslaughter charge. The indictment follows Penny’s surrender to police when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office pressed charges. Penny was released on bail, the Wall Street Journal reports. Penny’s lawyers said he acted to protect himself and other passengers on May 1 when Neely began acting erratically. “While we respect the decision of the grand jury to move this case forward to trial, it should be noted that the standard of proof in a grand jury is very low and there has been no finding of wrongdoing,” said his lawyer, Steven Raiser. Lawyers representing Neely’s family said the indictment was the right result. “We believe in our criminal justice system and believe it worked today,” the lawyers said.
Supporters of Neely, a Michael Jackson impersonator who was homeless, held vigils and protests after his death. The case attracted wide attention and raised questions about public safety and mental illness in the nation’s largest city, often with differing points of view. Some progressive officials, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), said Neely was murdered. Other people have raised money for Penny’s legal defense. Neely was threatening and scaring passengers in a subway car when Penny placed him in a chokehold, Bragg’s office said, adding that Penny held Neely in the chokehold for several minutes, even after the train reached the next subway station. In the moments leading up to the altercation, Neely said he was hungry and thirsty and ready to die, according to a witness account on Facebook. Neely took off his jacket and aggressively threw it to the floor before Penny placed Neely in a two-armed headlock, video showed. The Medical Examiner’s office ruled that Neely’s death was a homicide caused by compression of the neck..