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New York Grand Jury Indicts Subway Strangler In Chokehold Killing Of Jordan Neely
Another reminder that 'good Samaritans' don't choke the life out of anyone.
A grand jury in New York City yesterday indicted Daniel Penny on a charge of second-degree manslaughter in the May 1 killing of Jordan Neely. Both men were passengers on a subway train when Neely, a homeless mentally ill man who had in better times busked as a Michael Jackson impersonator, had a breakdown and began angrily shouting that he was hungry and fed up and goddamn it what's wrong with the world?
But if like Jordan Neely you are a homeless Black man in 2023, it's why you end up being put in a chokehold by Daniel Penny until you die. And then, should there be an afterlife vantage point from which you can watch, you'll see your killer celebrated as a hero and even as a "Good Samaritan" by rightwing politicians and media figures.
You'll see people trying to justify your killing because you were loud and scary, even though no witnesses said you had actually attacked anyone on the train. You might even see a white Fox News commentator who formerly spoke for the president of the United States joke that at least Black people protesting your death "have rhythm." You know, because someone had a drum, not because she's a fucking racist, heavens no.
On second thought, let's hope Mr. Neely saw a bright light and was led to a paradise, or at least didn't see any of that, or the fact that a crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $2.8 million for Penny's legal defense.
Penny had already been charged by Manhattan prosecutors last month, the Associated Press explains, but the grand jury indictment is a necessary "procedural step that will allow the criminal case to continue."
Grand jury proceedings are secret and spokespeople for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to comment Wednesday, but the indictment was confirmed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
“I appreciate DA Bragg conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Jordan Neely. 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,” Adams said in a statement.
Lawyers for Neely's family issued a statement saying the indictment reflects "the right result for the wrong [Penny] committed" by killing Neely. The statement added that Penny "did not have the right to be the judge, jury and executioner."
Attorneys Steven Raiser and Thomas Kenniff, who are representing Penny, said in their own statement that Penny had simply intended to "hold" Neely until police arrived, which rather ignores the fact that Marine martial arts training explains that a chokehold like the one Penny used can be lethal, to say nothing of keeping someone in such a hold for several minutes. They put the best possible spin on the case, emphasizing that their client remains innocent until proven guilty.
Penny is currently free on a $100,000 bond; he'll need to be arraigned a second time now that the grand jury has formally indicted him. Fox News rushed to find a New York area Republican, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, to say on "Fox & Friends" this morning that the grand jury's decision "defied logic" and that there's "something rotten about this prosecution," because Penny was just a Good Samaritan helping the helpless by choking a man to death.
Blakeman even went full dog-whistle to prove that anyone who criticizes the brave Subway Strangler is a big hypocrite, because surely everyone must think in the very same racist terms Blakeman does.
"People who criticize me for speaking out about Daniel Penny, I looked them in the eye and I said, 'let me ask you a question. Would you want Daniel Penny on a subway with your daughter or would you want Jordan Neely?' And that shuts them up right away because people with common sense, good Samaritans, they realize that we want people to take action when someone is doing something that could be harmful to others," Blakeman said.
In the brief segment, Blakeman invoked the phrase "Good Samaritan" at least three times, which suggests he's not especially familiar with Luke 10: 25-37, in which the original good Samaritan is not a photogenic Marine who chokes someone out, but a member of a despised minority who is the only person willing to help a traveler who's been badly beaten and left to die. Decent people keep turning away from the unsightly victim, who looks like hell and for all we know may have been shouting incoherently about being hungry and thirsty and in pain, and won't anyone help him please.
Hmm. Let's all be grateful that Mr. Penny didn't happen upon the traveler in Our Lord's parable, Amen.
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