A Pentagon report revealed on Friday that a 24–year–old former United States Marine with a history of travel and adventure is facing an up to 15–year prison sentence after he put a homeless man in a chokehold on a New York City Subway, leading to the man‘s death.
Daniel Penny, who worked in the Pentagon for nearly two years, spoke out for the first time since the incident last month, claiming racism had nothing to do with the altercation and that he only put the homeless man in a chokehold to prevent potential danger.
Jordan Neely, the homeless man in question, had over 40 arrests under his name and was known to have mental health issues. He reportedly began an aggressive rant and stating he did not care if he went to jail.
“This had nothing to do with race,” Penny said in an interview with the New York Post. “I judge a person based on their character. I‘m not a white supremacist. Everybody who‘s ever met me can tell you, I love all people, I love all cultures.”
Penny also told the Post he was en route to go swimming at a gym when he encountered Neely. He prefers to use public transportation as he loves to experience its sights, sounds and culture.
When talking about Neely‘s family, Penny said, “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.”
The former Marine acknowledged he wouldn‘t have put Neely in a chokehold if he didn‘t feel threatened, though he did not elaborate what bubbled up to prompt such a violent reaction nor why he agreed to the interview.
“I live an authentic and genuine life,” he said. “And I would — if there was a threat and danger in the present.”
Despite heavy backlash from left–wing advocates, Penny did not follow the story as he had given up social media many years ago.
“I don‘t follow anyone, and I don‘t have social media because I really don‘t like the attention and I just think there are better ways to spend your time,” he said. “I don‘t like the limelight.”
Penny faces charges of second degree manslaughter, with a potential sentence of 15 years in prison if found guilty, though his intentions in the situation remain to be seen.