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‘I’m Not a White Supremacist’: Daniel Penny Insists Deadly Chokehold ‘Had Nothing To Do with Race,’ Speaks Out Following Jordan Neely’s Death

Daniel Penny is speaking his piece after he held Jordan Neely in a chokehold for 15 minutes on a New York City subway train earlier this month claiming the man’s life and subsequently setting off a national outcry for justice and accountability.

Penny, 24, spoke exclusively to The New York Post about Neely’s death, his response, and how his involvement in it was not racially motivated, a claim that was debated online when the video went viral, and news first broke of the killing.

Daniel Penny (right) was charged with second-degree manslaughter after placing 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a Black homeless man, in a chokehold for 15 minutes on an NYC subway train.

“This had nothing to do with race,” Penny told The Post. “I judge a person based on their character. I’m not a white supremacist.”

Penny was caught on camera on May 1 placing 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a former street and subway performer who was homeless, in a deadly chokehold on a subway train. Neely died later at the hospital. The medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide.

“I mean, it’s, it’s a little bit comical. Everybody who’s ever met me can tell you, I love all people, I love all cultures. You can tell by my past and all my travels and adventures around the world. I was actually planning a road trip through Africa before this happened,” Penny said.

Penny’s lawyers stated that Neely “began aggressively threatening” Penny and other passengers, which prompted him to take physical action against Neely.

However, witness reports vary. Some witnesses reported that Neely seemed disturbed when he boarded the train, yelling about not having anything to eat or drink, but he did not pose a physical threat. Others report he was acting erratically and aggressively to the point where they feared he might assault someone.

“I can tell you that the threats, the menacing, the terror that Jordan Neely introduced to that train has already been well documented,” Penny stated. “I don’t think it’s going to even be controverted. There are numerous witnesses from all different walks of life who have absolutely no motive to do anything other than to recount what actually happened. They are uniform in their recollection of events.”

The freelance journalist who posted one video of the incident on Facebook that was heavily circulated online wrote in a caption on the post that while Neely came aboard the train yelling that he wanted food and something to drink, he “did not seem to want to attack anyone.”

The Post reported that one witness, described as a woman in her 60s who wanted to remain anonymous, said she and her fellow passengers were scared for their lives during Neely’s episode.

“The rhetoric from Mr. Neely was very frightening. It was very harsh,” the woman recalled. She said Neely stated he was willing to “kill a motherf—er” and “[take] a bullet” and go to jail.

“It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that he saved a lot of people that day that could have gotten hurt,” the woman said of Penny.

Neely’s aunt, Carolyn Neely, said he suffered from schizophrenia, depression, and PTSD and the symptoms associated with those conditions worsened after his mother’s brutal murder in 2007 when she was strangled by her former boyfriend and stuffed in a suitcase. Newsweek reported that Neely had been arrested 42 times, with charges that include criminal trespassing, transit fraud and assault.

Neely’s great-aunt recently sat down in an interview with ABC News and said he struggled with the death of his mother. “He tried to cope with it, but he just couldn’t cope with it,” she said. Neely was just 14 at the time she was killed.

Neely’s funeral on Friday welcomed hundreds of mourners to the same church where his mother’s funeral also took place. Those who took the podium to eulogize Neely also demanded accountability and justice for his death.

Rev. Al Sharpton spoke in front of family members, friends, civil rights advocates, and some New York City and state officials, saying Neely was “screaming for help” and adding, “People keep criminalizing people that need help. They don’t need abuse. They need help.”

Elected officials like congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and New York Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado were in attendance.

In Penny’s interview with the Post, he said of Neely’s death, “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of life. It’s tragic what happened to him. Hopefully, we can change the system that’s so desperately failed us.”

Penny has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. His lawyers are claiming self-defense. An online fundraiser that launched last week for his legal defense fund has attracted thousands of donors and raised more than $2.5 million in donations. Right now, Penny is free on a $100,000 bond and will be back in court on July 17.

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