Daniel Penny, center, after surrendering to the NYPD on May 12...

Daniel Penny, center, after surrendering to the NYPD on May 12 in the killing of Jordan Neely, who died after being placed in a chokehold. Credit: Ed Quinn

A Manhattan grand jury has indicted Daniel Penny, the former Marine from West Islip who put a menacing homeless man in a deadly chokehold aboard a subway train in Manhattan last month, according to New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

“I appreciate DA [Alvin] Bragg conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Jordan Neely," Adams said in a statement. "Like I said when the DA first brought charges, I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now that the Grand Jury has indicted Daniel Penny, a trial and justice can move forward." 

A spokesman for the district attorney's office declined to comment. Indictments are supposed to remain secret, by law, until unsealed by a judge.

It's unclear what charge or charges Penny was indicted on or when Penny might appear in court for an arraignment on the indictment, a step that allows the criminal case to proceed.

Thomas Keniff, Penny's Mineola-based attorney, did not respond to a message seeking comment. 

A statement from the publicist of the attorneys for the Neely family said: "Daniel Penny‘s indictment is the right result for the wrong he committed. The grand jury’s decision tells our city and our nation that 'no one is above the law' no matter how much money they raise, no matter what affiliations they claim, and no matter what distorted stories they tell in interviews."  

The indictment follows Penny's arrest last month on a second-degree manslaughter charge in Neely's death, which has sparked protest. Parts of the encounter between Neely and Penny, who according to his family and police had a history of mental health issues, was captured on bystander video.

Neely, 30, died of asphyxiation as a result of the chokehold, and his death was ruled a homicide by the city medical examiner.

At Penny's arraignment last month, the prosecutor said several witnesses "observed Mr. Neely making threats and scaring passengers" during the May 1 incident and Penny "approached Mr. Neely from behind and placed him in a chokehold, taking him down to the ground." Penny was released on a $100,000 bond. 

The prosecutor added: "When the train arrived at the next stop, Broadway-Lafayette, the defendant continued to hold Mr. Neely in the chokehold for several minutes. During the hold, two additional males aided the defendant by restraining Mr. Neely’s arms. At some point Mr. Neely stopped moving."

Jordan Neely in Times Square in 2009.

Jordan Neely in Times Square in 2009. Credit: Tribune Content Agency/Alamy Stock Photo

Penny said in an interview with The New York Post that he had left his architecture school and was on his way to his West 23rd Street gym when he encountered Neely. Penny, who is white, said his actions had nothing to do with race. Neely was Black. 

In a statement Wednesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton of the Harlem-based National Action Network, said: "This was a clear-cut case of vigilantism that has no place in our society, which is why I spoke against it at Jordan’s funeral. It appears Mr. Penny’s media tour these last few weeks was ineffective.

"The Manhattan grand jury saw right through his false narrative by voting to move this case forward," Sharpton continued. "While they should be saluted for this righteous step, we wish the charge would have reflected what this really was: murder."

With Anthony M. DeStefano

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