New York authorities said they will file criminal charges against a former Marine who choked to death fellow subway rider Jordan Neely.
Daniel Penny, 24, is expected to be arrested and charged with second degree manslaughter, which could carry a jail term of up to 15 years.
“We are unable to provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place tomorrow,” the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Neely’s murder nearly two weeks ago has sparked widespread anger in New York and the United States. The death of Neely, a homeless Michael Jackson impersonator who was black, has become a symbol of inequality in the US, as well as concerns about racism and paranoia about crime and vigilantism. Penny is white.
The incident unfolded after Neely entered a train car yelling that he was tired, hungry and ready to die. Four-minute video captured by a freelance journalist showed other cyclists pinning Neely to the ground and Penny choking him long after Neely stopped moving and at least one passenger urged him to let go.
Police found Neely unconscious and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. Investigators determined he died of neck compression, and a city medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
The officers took Penny into custody and questioned him, but released him without charging him with any crime.
Protesters have held regular protests in New York calling Neely’s death vigilantism by a white man against a black subway rider who was homeless and had long-standing mental health issues after the murder of his mother when he was a boy. Teen. Neely was well known to homeless advocates in the city and had been arrested multiple times.
Neely’s family condemned Penny for failing to offer “an apology or expression of regret” in a statement released through lawyers about the incident that highlighted Neely’s mental health issues. Penny’s lawyers previously said her client, along with two other cyclists who helped hold Neely down, had acted in self-defense.
the neely family called the statement “an assassination of character and a clear example of why he believed he had the right to take Jordan’s life.”
“The truth is that he knew nothing about Jordan’s history when he intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordan’s neck, and he squeezed and kept on squeezing,” they added.