Grand Jury Votes to Indict Daniel Penny in Subway Chokehold Killing

A grand jury on Wednesday voted to indict a Marine veteran who was arrested last month after killing a homeless man on a subway car in a case that created a political firestorm in New York City and beyond, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The case against the veteran, Daniel Penny, was brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which had charged Mr. Penny with manslaughter in the death of the homeless man, Jordan Neely, but needed the grand jury’s approval to proceed with the case.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment on the development, which was reported by The Daily News, as did the law firm representing Mr. Penny, Raiser & Kenniff.

Mr. Penny and Mr. Neely encountered each other on an F train on May 1. Witnesses told the police that Mr. Neely, who had a history of mental illness, had been shouting at passengers and using threatening language, but there was no indication that he had physically attacked anyone. Mr. Penny, apparently seeking to restrain Mr. Neely, placed him in a chokehold, killing him. The city medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide two days later.

A video of the encounter set off protests and prosecutors began to investigate. Mr. Penny was arrested and arraigned on May 12, but the law required that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, persuade a grand jury that there was reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Penny had committed manslaughter.

The encounter’s racial dynamics — Mr. Penny is white and Mr. Neely was Black — contributed to the attention it received, as did concerns about subway crime and the treatment of the mentally ill in New York. Mr. Penny’s case became a cause for conservatives and a legal fund his lawyers established on his behalf raised close to $3 million.

But progressive leaders pointed to the lack of an immediate arrest as evidence of a racist justice system, and said the case exemplified New York City’s challenges in dealing with its most vulnerable citizens.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

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