Nikki Haley says governor of New York should pardon Daniel Penny after fatal NYC subway chokehold

GOP 2024 presidential contender Nikki Haley says New York’s Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul should pardon Daniel Penny. 

“Really, what I think needs to happen – the governor needs to pardon Penny. No question about it. She needs to pardon him right away. It’s the right thing to do,” the former ambassador to the United Nations told “Fox News Tonight” on Tuesday. 

“This is if they don’t: criminals will continue to rule the streets of New York because they will know that there is no accountability for anyone who tries to stop them,” Haley added.

“And, if she pardons him, that sets a right on a lot of things. It’ll put criminals on notice. And, it will let people like Penny who really were very brave in that instance, it will let them know that we’ve got their back,” she stated. 


Haley tweeted out a clip from the show, tagging Hochul and again saying that the governor should pardon Penny. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rumored presidential hopeful, has also shown support for Penny, tweeting out a fundraising link. 

“We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left’s pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law-abiding citizens. We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let’s show this Marine … America’s got his back,” the Republican tweeted last week. 

Musician Kid Rock is one of the top donors to Penny’s legal defense fund and the GiveSendGo fundraiser has passed $2.5 million in donations. 

“Mr. Penny is a hero. Alvin Bragg is a POS. Kid Rock,” a message from the singer and Donald Trump fan said.

Republican presidential candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, 37, donated $10,000. He tweeted Tuesday about Neely’s previous arrests, including some that The New York Times said involved punching people in the subway. 

Penny, a 24-year-old Marine veteran and a White man, was freed last week pending trial hours after turning himself in at a police station and appearing in court to answer criminal charges in the May 1 death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely. 

Penny did not enter a plea.


Penny placed Neely, an agitated New York City subway passenger, in a chokehold, killing him – in an encounter seen in a viral video. Penny surrendered Friday on a manslaughter charge that was filed almost two weeks following the deadly incident.

Neely’s death has led to protests resulting in arrests and Mayor Eric Adams has said, “Jordan Neely did not deserve to die.”

“One of our own is dead. A Black man, Black like me, a man named Jordan, the name I gave my son. A New Yorker who struggled with tragedy, trauma and mental illness,” Adams said last Wednesday. “One thing we know for sure, Jordan Neely did not deserve to die.”

Jordan Neely should still be alive today,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg also said in a statement.

Haley also took shots at Bragg, alleging that he was “letting murderers go” and “letting street crime happen all over New York City.”

Penny’s lawyers have said he was acting in self-defense, while lawyers for Neely’s family said he wasn’t harming anyone and didn’t deserve to die. Neely had been dealing with homelessness and mental illness in recent years, and an attorney for his family said his outlook changed after his mother was killed by her boyfriend in 2007. 

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass said, according to The Associated Press, that Neely had been making threats and “scaring passengers” on the F train when Penny approached him from behind and placed him in a chokehold, noting that Penny “continued to hold Mr. Neely in the chokehold for several minutes.”

A freelance journalist who recorded Neely struggling to free himself and becoming unconscious said he had been shouting at passengers and begging for money but had not gotten physical with anyone. Penny pinned Neely to the floor with the assistance of two other passengers.

An autopsy ruled Neely’s death a homicide due to compression of the neck.

A New York judge authorized Penny’s release on $100,000 bond, ordering him to surrender his passport and not to leave the state without approval. Prosecutors have said they are seeking a grand jury indictment and Penny is due back in court on July 17.

If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenburg, Ashley Papa and Chris Pandolfo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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