OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former Marine Daniel Penny has broken his silence after being charged with the death of Jordan Neely earlier this month on a New York City subway.
Penny, 24, who is white, was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg after Neely, who is black, died after being put in a chokehold for several minutes when he reportedly became threatening and unruly, according to witnesses.
In an interview with the New York Post, Penny, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter and is facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted, said the incident had nothing at all to do with race, as many Democrats and left-wing pundits have claimed.
“This had nothing to do with race,” Penny, who was attending college near New York City, said. “I judge a person based on their character. I’m not a white supremacist. I mean, it’s, it’s a little bit comical. Everybody who’s ever met me can tell you, I love all people, I love all cultures. You can tell by my past and all my travels and adventures around the world. I was actually planning a road trip through Africa before this happened.”
He went on to say that he couldn’t go into many details because of his pending case, but did say the incident was not like “anything I’d experienced before.”
“This was different, this time was much different,” Penny said. “This time was very different.”
Witnesses have said that Neely, who had a history of more than 40 arrests and had served jail time after being convicted of striking an older woman, reports said, was threatening passengers with violence, saying things like he didn’t care about going to jail or taking a bullet.
Penny told The Post that he was heading to a local gym to take a swim and that he was on the subway because he loves public transportation.
Asked if he had a message for Neely’s family, Penny responded: “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.”
When he was asked if he would respond the same way if he had the situation to do over again, Penny nodded his head.
“You know, I live an authentic and genuine life,” Penny said. “And I would — if there was a threat and danger in the present.”
Penny mentioned that he hasn’t kept up with much of the backlash, and he isn’t familiar with some of the prominent left-wing advocates who have been criticizing him because he left social media 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 told The Post. “I don’t like the limelight.”
One witness to the incident called Penny a “hero.”
The witness, who self-described as a woman of color who has lived in New York City for 50 years, was critical of Bragg for filing charges, saying it was wrong of him to do so.
“It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that he saved a lot of people that day that could have gotten hurt,” she told Fox News.
“I’m sitting on a train reading my book, and, all of a sudden, I hear someone spewing this rhetoric. He said, ‘I don’t care if I have to kill an F, I will. I’ll go to jail, I’ll take a bullet,’” said the woman, which lead a number of passengers to begin crowding toward the exits.
“I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go,’” she said. “The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives.”