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Prominent Marine vets defend Daniel Penny amid NYC chokehold controversy


Prominent Marine veterans are speaking out in defense of fellow veteran Daniel Penny, who is at the center of controversy over his use of a chokehold that resulted in the death of a homeless man.

“The same broken corrupt system that failed this mentally ill individual is now failing to protect a hero that simply was trying to stop the aggression and threats to protect innocent people,” Victor Marx, a Marine veteran and founder of All Things Possible, told Fox News Digital. “He had no intent to kill or even injure the attacker, it’s unfortunate that death occurred as a result of a good Samaritan’s desire to protect people. Semper Fi, brother, you will be exonerated and freed.”

The comments come as Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter last week for his role in the choking death of Jordan Neely on a New York City train.

A police report regarding the May 1 incident stated that Neely was acting in a “hostile and erratic” manner toward passengers on the train, shouting threats that he would hurt people and announcing that he did not mind “going to jail or getting life in prison.”


Daniel Penny leaves the 5th Precinct of the NYPD on Friday, May 12, 2023. Penny is charged in connection with the death of subway rider Jordan Neely. (Julia Bonavita/Fox News Digital)

Video of the incident widely circulated on social media shows Penny step in to subdue Neely, putting him in a chokehold that reportedly lasted about 15 minutes. After authorities arrived, Neely was transported to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The viral video stirred online debate, split between those who hailed Penny as a hero and others who believed he used excessive force in the situation.

But the fact that video of the encounter was available at all stuck out to Marine veteran and author Chad Robichaux.

“Put down the cellphones to record a violent criminal attacking the innocent and help… that’s what this Marine did,” the Mighty Oaks Foundation founder told Fox News Digital.

Daniel Penny holding Jordan Neely in chokehold

Screenshot from bystander video showing Jordan Neely being held in a chokehold on the New York City subway. (Luces de Nueva York/Juan Alberto Vazquez via Storyful)

Robichaux also took issue with those who believe the Marines, who teach the technique Penny used during basic training, should rethink the training.


“So when do we stop teaching Marines how to shoot rifles? Marines are trained to defend those who can’t defend themselves… something society can learn from,” Robichaux said.

Marine veteran and author Stuart Scheller argued that Penny is a “hero” who defended a woman who was being threatened.

“I stand with Daniel Penny. The only thing evil needs is for good people to do nothing,” the “Crisis of Command” author told Fox News Digital. “A career criminal threatened a woman in an enclosed space. A Marine made a courageous decision to help. The outcome was unfortunate, but Penny’s critics are the same people who would never defend a woman in need. Daniel Penny is my hero.” 

Neely, who at 30 years old had been arrested over 40 times, had a history of violence while riding the New York City subway. In one 2021 incident, Neely punched a 67-year-old woman in the face, causing injuries that included a broken nose and orbital bone. Just months prior, he hit another woman in the face. In 2019, he sucker-punched two men at different subway stations one month apart, breaking one man’s nose.


According to Mark Geist, a Marine veteran and founder of the Shadow Warriors Project, Penny did everything right in the circumstances he was facing.

“Penny did everything right,” Geist, who authored “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi,” told Fox News Digital. “Once observing the video footage of the Marine and the innocent bystanders… It was clear that Penny held the threat in a basic restraint. The restraint he used, he used while exercising every precaution to the welfare of the individual he was restraining. It was clear in the video that was ensuring that the pressure was not put on the trachea/esophagus but instead put on the carotid artery.”

Geist added that the restraint used by Penny typically causes “a person to pass out” but still allows them to breathe, while Penny and other bystanders helped move Neely to the “rescue position” after breaking the chokehold. 

“They rolled him on his left side, then extended his left arm, making sure his head was supported,” Geist said. “Penny then straightened one of legs and bent the knee of the other, completing the recovery position. This position is ideal because when the threat wakes up, he’s in a safe position that also protects those around him, should he want to fight again. “

Chokeholds have long been a point of controversy in New York City, most notably after their use was banned for NYPD officers.

Penny’s use of the technique drew criticism from some Marine veterans, including Gabriel Murphy, who started a petition calling for the prosecution of Penny.

Penny hands behind back, flanked by NYPD

Daniel Penny’s use of a chokehold was praised by some Marine veterans, but criticized by others. (Julia Bonavita/Fox News Digital)

“The individual who choked Mr. Neely to death should be prosecuted for murder,” the petition read, according to “I hope that the military community joins me in disavowing the actions of this individual.”

But Penny also received the support of a legal defense fundraising effort that has surpassed $2 million, including donations from Kid Rock, presidential candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and more than 42,000 others.

“Mr. Penny is a hero. Alvin Bragg is a POS,” Kid Rock said in a comment along with his donation.

Source: Fox News