Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has decided to prosecute the former marine involved in the recent New York City subway incident that led to the death of a passenger.
According to NBC 4, 24-year-old Daniel Penny - the former marine - has been charged by Bragg with one count of second-degree manslaughter. The charge has a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
The incident that led to this charge took place on May 1 on New York City's northbound F train.
Penny was on the subway as was 30-year-old Jordan Neely. Neely, reportedly, was a homeless man with mental health problems and a long history of criminal behavior.
According to eyewitness reports, Neely was acting disruptively, even threatening passengers. One witness even reports Neely as saying that he would kill people on the train.
Penny responded to Neely's alleged aggression by taking Neely to the ground and placing him in a choke hold. The incident was caught on a video that has been widely viewed.
Penny continued to restrain Neely in this manner for several minutes. Neely, at some point, lost consciousness and ended up dying. A medical examiner subsequently ruled that Neely's death was a homicide caused by compression of the neck.
There were a wide variety of responses to the incident. Some defended Penny's actions, while others accused him of murder. Not even all Democrats could agree about the situation.
The big question that arose was whether Bragg would charge Penny. We now know that the answer is "yes."
Penny, for his part, turned himself in to the authorities shortly after the charges were made public. He was booked and then released on a $100,000 bond.
Penny, through his legal representation, has since released a statement on the matter, which he referred to as "a tragic incident."
The statement reads:
We would first like to express, on behalf of Daniel Penny, our condolences to those close to Mr. Neely. Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness. 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. Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.
Penny's lawyers go on to write, "For too long, those suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference. 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."
This statement provides some insight into the legal defense that Penny and his lawyers will attempt to make before the jury. Whether it will hold up in a New York City court remains to be seen.