A woman who witnessed Navy veteran Daniel Penny fatally choke homeless man Jordan Neely on a train earlier this month called him a “hero” and blasted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg , to process it.
“He’s a hero,” the witness said.
The eyewitness, who described herself as a woman of color, said it was wrong for Bragg to charge Penny with second-degree manslaughter.
“It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that it saved a lot of people that day that could have been hurt,” he told Fox News Digital.
In the new report released Thursday, the woman said the passengers were scared for their lives when Penny intervened.
“I’m sitting on a train reading my book and suddenly I hear someone spewing this rhetoric. He said, “I don’t care if I have to kill a F, I will.” I’m going to jail, I’m going to take a bullet,” he said.
“I’m looking at where we are on the subway, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘Okay, we’re between stations.’ There’s nowhere we can go.’ We people on that train were scared,” he continued.
“We fear for our lives,” he added
The witness said Penny only stepped in to restrain Neely when he started using threatening words like “kill” and “bullet.”
“Why the hell would you take a bullet? Why?” she asked. “You don’t take a bullet because you took something out of someone’s hand.”
The witness expressed his admiration for Penny’s bravery and his concern for the safety of his fellow passengers. Although she couldn’t see clearly due to the chaotic situation inside the train, she heard a thud as Penny carried Neely to the ground. The doors finally opened at the Broadway-Lafayette station, allowing most passengers to leave. The witness, having stayed on the train, waited for the arrival of the police and made a statement.
The woman continued to defend Penny’s actions, stating, “Mr. Penny cared about people. That’s what he did. That’s his crime.”
After the altercation, she and several passengers expressed their gratitude towards Penny. However, she noted that he appeared visibly shaken by the events, stressing that he had no intention of killing Neely. He described Penny as distraught and distraught, highlighting her decision to stay on the train and cooperate with police when they arrived.
During Penny’s arraignment, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass mentioned that Penny continued to restrain Neely for a “period of time” after the man had stopped moving. However, Steinglass acknowledged that Penny had chosen to remain on the train and voluntarily accompanied the police to the venue to provide voluntary statements. Two unidentified men also helped Penny by grabbing Neely’s arms during the altercation. The witness stated the struggle that ensued, stating, “It took three men to hold Mr. Neely down. He was struggling.”
Following widespread protests, during which Penny was labeled a “murderer”, Bragg decided to press charges against him. Adding to the narrative, freelance journalist Alberto Vázquez, who began recording the incident after Neely was already suffocated, shared his account of the homeless man’s behavior. According to Vazquez, Neely had been yelling aggressively, expressing frustration over the lack of food and drink, took off his jacket, a black jacket he had on, and threw it on the floor.
The witness also rejected the narrative that the incident was fundamentally about race: a white man fatally choking a black man.
“This is not about race. This is about people of all colors who were very, very afraid and one man stepped in to help them,” he said. “Race is being used to divide us.”
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