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Man who restrained Jordan Neely defends conduct as Al Sharpton seeks charges

Ryes Al Sharpton asked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to prosecute those involved in the death of Jordan Neely on a New York City subway train, as the prime suspect claims he acted in self-defense.

Neely, 30, was a street performer known for his Michael Jackson impersonations, whose mental health struggles and drug abuse led to bouts of homelessness. A freelance reporter aboard the northbound F train when the tragic incident occurred said Neely acted erratically as soon as he got into the car. He yelled that he was hungry, thirsty and short on life and threw trash at the other passengers as they became uncomfortable and walked away.


Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old Marine, then walked over and placed Neely in a handhold while two unidentified men helped restrain the homeless man. The three continued to restrain Neely for several minutes until her lifeless body stopped struggling. Penny was initially taken into the custody of the New York City Police Department, but was eventually released while officials investigated the matter. It was reported Friday that Bragg is expected to present a case to a grand jury in the coming days to consider possible charges.

The city’s medical examiner said Wednesday that he had determined Neely’s cause of death to be homicide by “neck compression” or “asphyxiation.”

The situation has divided New Yorkers, with hundreds of demonstrations in recent days calling for charges against Penny and others.

For their part, Penny’s attorneys said in a statement Friday afternoon that their client was not acting to hurt Neely, but to protect himself and others from an erratic man who had an episode mental health

“When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, took action to protect himself until help arrived,” the statement read. . “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”

That explanation wasn’t enough for Sharpton, a civil rights icon, who said at his weekly demonstration Saturday of the viral footage: “I’m looking at the video. You have one man choking and the other man holding him down . They all need to be in front of a grand jury.”

“This man needs to be prosecuted because what you’re going to do if you don’t prosecute him, in my view, is you’re going to set a standard of vigilantism that we cannot tolerate,” he continued. “The precedent alone is a threat to all of us. We cannot allow this lawlessness to go unchecked.”


Sharpton went on to say that while there are many disturbing things that happen on the New York City subway every day, these actions do not deserve to strangle another individual.

“This man didn’t have his biography on his back,” he said of Neely’s lengthy rap sheet. “This man had a mental problem and the way to handle it is not to put him in a hold and squeeze the life out of him. A mental problem on a train should not be sentenced to death.”

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