Last month, a homeless man named Jordan Neely died after being placed in a chokehold on a New York subway. Now, a grand jury has indicted 24-year-old Marine veteran Daniel Penny for second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
What unfolded that day was a tragedy. Neely was suffering from a mental health episode when he arrived on the subway. We should be outraged by his death.
However, by available accounts, Penny acted selflessly to protect his fellow citizens on the subway. Witnesses said Neely threatened to kill them. Daniel Penny never intended to kill Jordan Neely. He only wanted to keep him restrained until the police could arrive.
Now, we find ourselves in a messy situation. A man is dead, and a former Marine could end up in jail for more than 15 years for trying to keep people safe.
This incident never should have happened. Jordan Neely had 42 prior arrests and was on New York City’s “Top 50” list of homeless people in need of attention. Clearly, the state never gave him the help he needed. They continued to release him back onto the streets, where in 2015 he would try to kidnap a 7-year-old girl and in 2021 he would punch a 67-year-old woman in the face, breaking her nose.
Activists claiming to be looking out for people like Jordan Neely have demanded Daniel Penny be held accountable. Some have even labeled Penny a racist, but there is no evidence that race played any role in the incident. Given the fervor with which liberals have pursued Penny, one wonders where they have been all these years as Neely was arrested again and again. The civil authorities had 42 opportunities to help Neely and protect both him and the community, and they failed.
Leftists assert that they have nothing but compassion for the homeless and mentally ill, yet their policies continue to harm those most vulnerable while punishing people who try to do the right thing. If Neely had been institutionalized, he would still be alive, and the subway goers would not have feared for their safety that day. New York City Mayor Eric Adams recognized that the city had the authority to involuntarily admit Neely for treatment, yet Neely was still homeless on the streets. If liberal cities want to claim the mantle of caring and compassion, they must answer for their failures to act.
It is not compassionate to allow an individual who is a danger to himself and others to remain on the streets, nor is it just to indict a man for trying to keep people safe while allowing violent crime to run rampant. But, in liberal cities like New York, the justice system works backward. Dangerous repeat criminals are treated with kid gloves, and heroes are condemned as killers.
This cruelty from progressives will only make New York’s crime problem worse. With the indictment of Daniel Penny, more people will get hurt as protecting others becomes a liability.
Progressive soft-on-crime policy continues to bear its hideous fruit. In New York, justice is not being served.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.