Daniel Penny, who was caught on camera choking a homeless man to death in a New York City Subway, spoke out for the first public time about the incident on Saturday, during an interview with The New York Post.
Mr. Penny is charged with second degree manslaughter for the death of Mr. Neely on a F train in May. In the interview, Penny gave very few details about the events that occurred before the prosecutors claim he put Mr. Neely in a chokehold and approached him from behind.
He claimed he was on his way to the gym in Manhattan, when he met Mr. Neely. According to police, witnesses said that Mr. Neely shouted at passengers about being hungry, thirsty, and "ready to die." No evidence has been found that Mr. Neely attacked anyone.
A freelance journalist recorded a video of Mr. Penny on the floor, his arms around the neck of Mr. Neely for several minutes while two other passengers helped pin him down. Two days later, the medical examiner's offices ruled that Mr. Neely died of homicide and that compression to his neck was the cause.
The murder of Mr. Neely who was Black, and suffered from mental illness, divided politicians and led to protests in the city. The killing of Mr. Neely, a Black man who had struggled with mental illness, quickly divided political leaders and led to protests around the city.
Although Mr. Penny has not spoken out since the incident, conservative politicians, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, the likely Republican candidate for president from Florida who called Mr. Penny a good Samaritan urged his supporters to donate to an appeal to fund Mr. Penny’s legal defense. The fund has so far raised $2.7 million.
Left-wing politicians, city leaders, and activists have all asked why Mr. Penny wasn't immediately arrested. After the murder, he was interviewed by police and released. He was then arrested on May 12 and charged.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said that if Mr. Neely had been white and if it had been a Black person who choked him the police would not have allowed that Black man to leave the precinct on that night.
In the interview, Mr. Penny said that his encounter with Neely had 'nothing to do with racism'. When Mr. Penny was asked about Mr. Sharpton’s comments, he said that he wasn't sure who Mr. Sharpton is.
Lennon Edwards & Donte mills, attorneys for the family of Mr. Neely, called Mr. Penny's Post interview "disgraceful" and said it was meant to portray him in a good light. Edwards stated that there was no remorse. There is no accountability. He did not acknowledge that he had killed anyone.