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Daniel Penny's Attorney Speaks Out

AP Photo/Jeenah Moon

A lawyer representing former Marine Daniel Penny, the 24-year-old passenger who was charged in the May 1 death of a mentally ill black homeless man on a New York City subway, said there was no racial motivation to his client’s actions.


"Daniel has been called a murderer by some, a vigilante by others. Many claim he acted based on race. What do you say to those people?" Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro asked on Monday. 

"None of that is based on the facts," lawyer Steven M. Raiser responded. "As to race, it's simply not the motivation for Danny. He is the one that put himself in danger, to save who? All the people on that train. Black people, brown people. white people, it didn't matter to Danny. Danny put his life at risk to save all those people. It has nothing to do with race."

The homeless man, Jordan Neely, was acting in a “hostile and erratic manner,” according to bystanders, prompting Penny to step in. 

According to Raiser, Penny was “fearful for the safety of those passengers,” when he put Neely, a repeat offender, in a chokehold, explaining that he was "acting in a very violent manner, both physically and with words." 

"So when [Penny] acted, his mindset was to keep his fellow passengers safe from attack,” he added, noting Neely was “swinging his arms at passengers, throwing his jacket down, making threats.”

Longer footage of the incident shows Penny along with another passenger putting Neely in the "recovery position" after subduing him. The video appears to show Neely moving at the end. 


Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Friday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office. 

"We were told that there was going to be a grand jury presentation and that that would take some time. And it was going to be a very kind of a deliberate process and it was not going to be rushed. Then suddenly we got a call one night before Danny was asked to surrender and said he's got to surrender to the police department tomorrow," Raiser said. 

A number of high-profile figures have come to Penny’s defense, with some, like Kid Rock, podcaster Tim Pool, and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy donating thousands of dollars to a legal fund for him, which has raised more than $2.4 million so far.    

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