The legal team wasn’t wasting any time.
Lawyers for the former Marine involved in the fatal chokehold of a man on a New York subway last week are putting into play one of the basic truths of battle on any terrain: Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
And Daniel Penny’s lawyers are setting out to prove it.
In a statement released on behalf of the 24-year-old, who has been publicly identified but not yet charged in the death of a mentally disturbed homeless man Monday aboard an F train, the law firm of Raiser and Kenniff put the blame for the incident on “indifference” to the dead man’s mental illness.
And in a phrasing sure to infuriate the protesters who are once again causing chaos in the Big Apple, the statement minced no words about Neely’s own past.
“Mr. Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior, the apparent result of ongoing and untreated mental illness,” the statement said. “When Mr. Neely began aggressively threatening Daniel Penny and 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.”
NEW: first statement from Thomas Kenniff, lawyer for Daniel Penny, claiming his client was threatened along with other passengers and “never intended to harm” Jordan Neely, who died at Penny’s hands: pic.twitter.com/dWmCr6Kwhw
— Trevor Boyer (@trevormail) May 6, 2023
It’s important to note that the statement doesn’t actually blame Neely for his own death. It makes a point of calling the incident “tragic,” which it was. It also offers condolences to the dead man’s survivors.
“For too long, those suffering from mental illness have been treated with indifference,” the statement concluded. “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.”
But it also makes no bones about the reality of the situation — that Neely suffered from mental illness and had a history of violent behavior. He had a record of 42 arrests between 2013 and 2021, according to Newsweek.
“They include four for alleged assault, while others involved accusations of transit fraud and criminal trespass,” Newsweek reported. “At the time of his death, Neely had one active warrant for an alleged assault in connection with a 2021 incident.”
Since common sense dictates that every offense doesn’t result in an arrest, especially in a city the size of New York, it’s a pretty good chance that Neely’s outbursts of dangerous behavior weren’t exactly uncommon.
Now, the race-hustlers of the left aren’t going to acknowledge that. Neely was black. Penny is white. And that’s all they need to see to bring protesters out into the streets — and down into the subways.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has already claimed in a Twitter post that Neely was “murdered.” (She doesn’t need a legal system, clearly.)
Career grifter Al Sharpton, at a rally Saturday, according to the New York Daily News, said a failure to prosecute Penny would “will set a standard of vigilantism that we cannot tolerate.”
“The precedent alone is a threat to all of us. We cannot allow this lawlessness to go unchecked.”
Given Sharpton’s history, his attack on “lawlessness” is beyond even his usual standards for hypocrisy, and, as usual, he’s missing the point.
The “lawlessness” that’s plaguing New York City is a result of the soft-on-crime attitudes of lawmakers in the New York state capital, who’ve turned the state’s criminal justice system into a revolving door, where criminals are arrested only to be released before the paperwork is finished.
It’s the results of prosecutors like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who can find time to drum up a malicious, politically motivated prosecution of former President Donald Trump but makes a practice of turning felonies into misdemeanors to turn criminals loose on the streets.
And it’s the result of a chaotic atmosphere in which mental illness, and the mentally ill, are just one more hazard that anarchic leftist policies inflict on law-abiding Americans.
Society abhors a vacuum as much as nature does. In a vacuum of law and order, order is going to be imposed one incident at a time — possibly with tragic consequences.
It’s pretty clear that that’s what happened on the F train on Monday, when a mentally ill man went berserk, requiring civilians — black and white, as the video of the incident shows — to step in.
The legal situation had not been determined on Sunday — the non-prosecuting DA Bragg might decide that this is the kind of crime his office will not tolerate.
But the statement by Penny’s legal team makes it clear that its case will rest on the argument that there’s plenty of blame to go around for Jordan Neely’s death — mental illness, the “indifference” with which it’s viewed in the liberal haven of New York (not to mention the incompetence with which it’s handled), and the elected officials (overwhelmingly Democratic in deep-blue New York) who’ve failed to address “the mental health crisis on our streets and subways.”
Let the battle begin.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.