Manhattan, New York
Manhattan, New YorkISTOCK

An ex-Marine who sparked outrage after being filmed placing a homeless man in a fatal chokehold on a New York City subway earlier in the month was charged on Friday with second degree manslaughter, NBC New York reported.

The Manhattan district attorney's office announced it had decided to charge Daniel Penny without putting the case before a grand jury.

The May 1 video, which went viral, showed 24-year-old Penny placing Jordan Neely, 30, in a chokehold on the Manhattan F train. Neely died during the altercation from a neck compression, according to the medical examiner. Penny’s attorneys said that the death was accidental.

Witnesses said that Neely was harassing passengers, talking aggressively about being hungry and his willingness to die. Penny’s legal team is alleging that their client reached from behind to grab Neely across the neck in order to restrain him after passengers felt threatened.

Penny kept the man restrained on the ground until he stopped moving. He was later pronounced dead, Reuters reported.

Under New York sentencing laws, second degree manslaughter, a Class C felony, is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

During Friday’s hearing, Penny’s lawyer Thomas Kenniff said that his client “not only has ties to this community, he has in fact been a pillar of the community.”

"There is nothing less indicative of being a flight risk, in my opinion, than someone who voluntarily surrenders themselves,” Kenniff said.

A delay in prosecutors charging Penny led to protests with claims that the death amounted to a “lynching” or was an example of race-based vigilantism, with Penny being white and Nelly being African American, according to media reports.

In a statement earlier in the week, Penny gave "condolences to those close to Mr. Neely" but added that Neely had behaved in a threatening manner to subway passengers.

"Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death," the statement added.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)