The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Neely’s death is under investigation.
Penny’s lawyers have defended him amid the outrage, alleging that Neely had a documented history of violent and erratic behavior as a result of untreated mental illness.
«When Mr. Neely began to aggressively threaten Daniel Penny and the other passengers, Daniel, with the help of others, acted to protect himself, until help arrived,» Penny’s attorneys said in a statement on May 5. «Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and he could not have foreseen his untimely death.»
Representatives for Neely’s family responded Monday, saying Penny never tried to help Neely and had no regard for her life.
«Daniel Penny’s press release is not an apology or an expression of regret,» said a statement from Donte Mills and Lennon Edwards, attorneys representing Neely’s family. «It’s an assassination of character and a clear example of why he believed he had the right to take Jordan’s life.»
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul drew criticism for their initial responses to Neely’s death. hochul weighed on May 3, saying, “There are consequences for behavior.” She appeared to retract his remarks at a press conference a day later, saying that Neely’s family «deserves justice.”
Adams initially highlighted the right of subway riders to take action in certain situations. However, her message had changed on Wednesday, when she called Neely’s death «a tragedy that should never have happened.»
«My heart goes out to Jordan’s family, who is experiencing great pain and uncertainty about the circumstances of his death,» Adams said. She promised to bring together the leaders of the five organizations that contract with the city to provide homeless services for a summit next week on how to improve outcomes for people with severe mental illness.