Alvin Bragg attacks self-defense by indicting Daniel Penny for Jordan Neely’s death

Daniel Penny, along with others on a New York subway, used a wrestling hold to subdue Jordan Neely after the latters behavior was “hostile and erratic.” The Democrat narrative is that a white supremacist murdered a Michael Jackson impersonator. Now, Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s hard-left District Attorney, has indicted Penny for manslaughter. New Yorkers, though, may not take this indictment lying down.

The last time New York City was as violently out of control as today was in the 1970s and early 1980s. That’s why, when Bernhard Goetz, a white subway rider who had previously been violently mugged, pulled out a gun and shot four black teens who were demanding his money, many in New York City supported him. He was their everyman. The jury rejected serious charges against him, finding him guilty of carrying an unlicensed firearm, for which he served only eight months.

Giuliani restored order to New York, and Bloomberg maintained it. Things fell apart again under DeBlasio, a process that accelerated when BLM paralyzed policing. Today, in NYC subways, it’s déjà vu all over again for those who remember the 1970s.

Image: Neely being put in a recovery position. Twitter screen grab.

Subway crime goes beyond fare-jumpers, litter, and graffiti. It includes homeless people taking over subway cars and literally befouling them with urine, and crazy people shooting at passengers, pushing them onto the tracks, and otherwise assaulting them.

It was in this context that Neely, a homeless man with a long criminal record, including multiple assault charges, came into contact with Penny. According to witnesses, Neely behaved in a “hostile and erratic manner” and threw trash at people (a form of assault), frightening passengers. That’s why Penny put Neely in a “chokehold,” while two other passengers helped.

For a chokehold, one person puts his arm around another person’s neck to control that person. I’ve had hundreds of chokeholds put on me, and I’ve put hundreds on other people. Nobody choked. If you apply hard pressure the correct way, though, you can either cut off someone’s air supply, suffocating them or the flow of blood to their brain. The moment you remove pressure, the suffocation stops, and the blood flow returns.

So, it’s theoretically possible that a chokehold could have killed Neely. Except that we know from the full video, rather than the parts the media focused on, that once Neely stopped screaming and fighting, Penny put him in a recovery position. This is inconsistent with intending to kill a man or believing you have killed him. Several people involved (many of whom thanked Penny) were certain that Neely was alive—and, indeed, Neely was alive, dying only at the hospital:

Hypothetically, though, it shouldn’t matter if Neely had died. The self-defense principle is that you must neutralize the threat. People die because they thought that wounding someone was sufficient to neutralize them.

New York’s self-defense doctrine gives reasonable people the right to take whatever steps are needed to defend themselves or others. They don’t have to wait until they’re wounded (perhaps fatally) to act. Instead, the justification for killing someone kicks in when “a person reasonably believes it is necessary to defend himself/ herself or a third party when there is a reasonable belief of imminent use of unlawful physical force.” (NY Penal Code § 35.15.)

Leftists from D.A. Alvin Bragg to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, though, hate self-defense because it makes people less dependent on the government. When a bodega worker killed a threatening robber, Bragg indicted the worker for murder. He wanted to do the same when a garage security guard wrestled the gun from a robber who shot him and fired back, killing the robber. Recall that, in Canada, Justin Trudeau has successfully eliminated self-defense:

Therefore, it was predictable that Bragg would indict Penny for second-degree manslaughter.

The real question is whether New Yorkers will resist, as they did with the bodega and parking garage workers. While the left is pushing the George Floyd narrative (white-on-black violence), New Yorkers are looking at a subway that functions as the city’s artery, but that is becoming too dangerous for them to use.

No wonder even left-wing outlets are worriedly writing about the number of New Yorkers who have come to Penny’s defense. (See, e.g., Vox, Daily News, Politico, and The Times-Tribune.) And no wonder that Bragg bypassed the grand jury because he feared they’d side with Penny and withhold an indictment.

New Yorkers understand that the government cannot and will not—and does not want to—protect them from violence. As happened with Bernie Goetz almost 40 years ago, this is when vigilantes become heroes.

You can contribute to Daniel Penny's legal defense fund here.

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