Daniel Penny's lawyers released a cynical statement claiming that the homicide-committing ex-marine who held Jordan Neely in a death-invoking choke-hold for nearly fifteen minutes acted in self-defense. Disgustingly, the statement claims that Neely's death might bring light to the mental illness crisis.
"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."
That a man trained in combat and restraint would claim self-defense from a man he attacked is not surprising. Police and civilians, "standing their ground," have consistently used the excuse of being scared or intimidated by unarmed people to justify deadly violence. That a highly trained ex-Marine could not use non-lethal tactics is astounding. Who trained this person?
Perception is reality if society is predisposed to seeing people in public displaying signs of mental illness or experiencing homelessness as less than human. Men claiming to protect civilization is an old trope justifying pre-emptive strikes and shock and awe strategies.
The experience of witnessing people suffering from mental illness in public is all too common.
So, what did the other people on the F-Train think about witnessing this evolving violent act perpetrated by Penny that ended Neely's life?
Nick Pinto writes for Hell Gate and filed this story, "Confusion, Shock, and the Bystander Effect on the Train Where Jordan Neely Was Killed."
"The Marine was still choking him when we got up there," [James] Kings said. He asked bystanders what was going on, and they told him: "They said he had gotten on the train and was belligerent about getting his food. He was using the wrong method, he was using aggressive panhandling, he was screaming and hollering about how he needed food. Kings's friend, Johnny Grima, approached and splashed some water on Neely's limp body to try to revive him, but, he says, Penny waved him away. Grima says he regrets not intervening earlier. "Unfortunately I didn't do anything to stop it, and I feel ashamed about that," he said. "I was intimidated by Daniel Penny."
Check out the entire story with comments and lamentations from witnesses.