The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Neely’s death is under investigation.
Penny’s lawyers have defended him amid the outrage, alleging that Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior as a result of 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,” Penny’s lawyers said in a statement on May 5. “Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.”
Representatives for Neely’s family responded Monday, saying Penny never tried to help Neely and had no regard for his life at all.
“Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology nor an expression of regret,” said a statement from Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards, attorneys representing Neely’s family. “It is a character assassination and a clear example of why he believed he was entitled to take Jordan’s life.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul drew criticism for their initial responses to Neely’s death. Hochul weighed in on May 3, saying, “There are consequences for behavior.” She seemed to walk back her statements in a news conference a day later, saying that Neely’s family “deserves justice.”
Adams initially highlighted the right of subway riders to take action in certain situations. His messaging had changed by Wednesday, however, when he called Neely’s death “a tragedy that never should have happened.”
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