Neely died last Monday when former Marine Penny restrained him onboard an F train in Manhattan
The family of Jordan Neely, the man who was killed after being placed in a chokehold on a New York City subway last week, is speaking out about Daniel Penny, whose alleged actions led to their loved one’s death.
Neely’s family released a statement on Monday morning, countering the one made by a law firm representing the 24-year-old former Marine last week.
“Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret,” the statement — which was shared with various outlets, including PEOPLE — read. “It is a character assassination and a clear example of why he believed he was entitled to take Jordan’s life.”
“In the first paragraph, he talks about how ‘good’ he is and the next paragraph he talks about how ‘bad’ Jordan was in an effort to convince us Jordan’s life was ‘worthless.’ The truth is, he knew nothing about Jordan’s history when he intentionally wrapped his arms around Jordan’s neck, and squeezed and kept squeezing,” the statement continued. “In the last paragraph, Daniel Penny suggests that the general public has shown ‘indifference’ for people like Jordan, but that term is more appropriately used to describe himself.”
The statement concluded, “It is clear he is the one who acted with indifference, both at the time he killed Jordan and now in his first public message. He never attempted to help him at all. In short, his actions on the train, and now his words, show why he needs to be in prison.”
Neely’s family’s comments come about after Penny’s attorneys released a statement on his behalf, claiming that the man “never intended to harm” Neely, 30.
In a statement from Raiser and Kenniff, P.C., the law firm expressed its condolences to Neely’s family for their loss, while also defending their client’s actions.
“When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect themselves, until help arrived,” the statement said, per ABC 7. “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”
“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 subways,” the statement continued.
Last Monday afternoon, Neely was riding a northbound F train in Manhattan when he began harassing passengers, authorities told multiple news outlets, including ABC 7.
“He starts to make a speech,” Juan Alberto Vazquez, who filmed the encounter, told the New York Post. “He started screaming in an aggressive manner. He said he had no food, he had no drink, that he was tired and doesn’t care if he goes to jail. He started screaming all these things, took off his jacket, a black jacket that he had, and threw it on the ground.”
Penny then stepped in to subdue him, placing his arms around Neely’s neck. The nearly four-minute-long video filmed by Vazquez shows the two men struggling and other passengers stepping in to hold Neely down, per The New York Times.
Records show that Neely had been previously arrested 44 times for assault, attempted child abduction, drugs and indecent exposure, per ABC 7. At least 43 times, he was treated as an “aided case” where he required treatment by mental healthcare providers.
More than 100 activists stormed the station at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue on Saturday to protest Neely’s death. Police are now searching for six people who jumped on the tracks and are wanted for criminal trespassing, CBS New York reported.