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‘He’s a Hero’: Eyewitness to Jordan Neely Chokehold Death Comes Forward to Say It Was ‘Self-Defense’

A woman who witnessed Marine veteran Daniel Penny fatally choke homeless man Jordan Neely on a train earlier this month called him a ‘hero’ and slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for prosecuting him.

“He’s a hero,” the witness said.

The eyewitness, who described herself as a woman of color, said it was wrong for Bragg to charge Penny with second-degree manslaughter.

“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 Digital.

In the new report published on Thursday, the woman said the passengers were scared for their lives when Penny intervened.

“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,’ she said.

“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.’ The people on that train, we were scared,” she continued.

“We were scared for our lives,” she added

The witness said Penny only stepped in to restrain Neely when he began using threatening words like “kill” and “bullet.”

“Why in the world would you take a bullet? Why?” she asked. “You don’t take a bullet because you’ve snatched something from somebody’s hand.”

The witness expressed her admiration for Penny’s bravery and his concern for the safety of his fellow passengers. While she couldn’t see clearly due to the chaotic situation inside the train, she heard a thumping sound as Penny brought Neely to the ground. The doors finally opened at the Broadway-Lafayette station, allowing most of the passengers to exit. The witness, having remained on the train, awaited the arrival of the police and provided her statement.

The woman continued to defend Penny’s actions, stating, “Mr. Penny cared for people. That’s what he did. That is his crime.”

Following the altercation, she and several other passengers expressed their gratitude towards Penny. However, she observed that he appeared visibly shaken by the events, emphasizing that he had no intention of killing Neely. She described Penny as distraught and distressed, highlighting his decision to stay on the train and cooperate with the police when they arrived.

During Penny’s arraignment, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass mentioned that Penny continued to restrain Neely for a “period of time” after the man had stopped moving. Nevertheless, Steinglass acknowledged that Penny had chosen to remain on the train and willingly accompanied the police to the precinct to provide voluntary statements. Two unidentified men also assisted Penny by holding down Neely’s arms during the altercation. The witness affirmed the struggle that had occurred, stating, “It took three men to hold Mr. Neely down. He was struggling.”

In the wake of widespread protests, during which Penny was labeled a “murderer,” Bragg decided to press charges against him. Adding to the narrative, freelance journalist Alberto Vazquez, who began recording the incident after Neely was already in a chokehold, shared his account of the homeless man’s conduct. According to Vazquez, Neely had been screaming aggressively, expressing his frustration about the lack of food and drink, took off his jacket, a black jacket that he had, and threw it on the ground.

The witness also rejected the narrative that the incident was fundamentally about race — a White man who fatally choked a Black man.

“This isn’t about race. This is about people of all colors who were very, very afraid and a man who stepped in to help them,” she said. “Race is being used to divide us.”

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