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Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old Marine veteran and college student, released the statement through attorneys Steven M. Raiser and Thomas A. Kenniff of Raiser & Kenniff, P.C.
In the statement, the firm representing Daniel Penny says their client "never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death."
The disturbing incident unfolded Monday on a northbound F train in New York City. Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man with 42 prior arrests, was reportedly behaving erratically when Penny and other passengers took action to restrain him. Penny is seen in widely-circulated videos using a chokehold to subdue Neely as other passengers work to hold his limbs.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and some of her colleagues quickly denounced New York City Mayor Eric Adams' response to the incident. Adams called for a pause on rendering judgment until the facts of the case were known, as TheBlaze reported. AOC claimed "Jordan Neely was murdered."
Penny's attorneys began the statement by acknowledging Penny's involvement in the "tragic incident" and expressing condolences to people close to Neely.
They went on to say Neely "had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness."
When Neely began "aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers," the statement says, Penny and other passengers acted to protect themselves until help arrived.
Penny's attorneys' statement concludes by saying the mentally ill have been treated with indifference for too long.
"We hope that out of this awful tragedy will come a new commitment by our elected officials to address the mental health crisis on our streets and in our subways."
Protests quickly followed news of Neely's death. Hundreds of demonstrators carrying signs saying "Justice for Jordan Neely" and similar messages gathered Friday night at Washington Square Park, Reuters reported.
Thomas Kenniff, one of Penny's attorneys, is a Republican veteran of the Iraq War who opposed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in the race for the DA's office in 2021, according to National Review.
Watch NBC's coverage below of Daniel James Penny's identification as the Marine veteran accused of putting Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold in a New York City subway car.
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