'Lawlessness' continues to plague NYC trains as DA Bragg pushes manslaughter case against Daniel Penny

A crazed man slashed a subway conductor in the neck; a jilted lover shoved his ex-girlfriend in front of a moving car, maiming her; a belligerent shot in the head with his own gun; and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul sent in National Guard troops and state police to help restore order to New York City’s public transportation system.

And on Monday afternoon, two off-duty NYPD officers riding a commuter train arrested another slashing suspect after he allegedly hacked a rider’s face with a box cutter, according to authorities.

Video shows just one traveler trying to help the victim as others got up and went to the ends of the train car. He sprinted over to the altercation and wrestled with the suspect for much of the 1-minute, 30-second video.


Daniel Penny departs Manhattan Criminal Court following his arraignment, June 28, 2023, in New York. Penny, 24, pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the May 1 death of Jordan Neely. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“Get off of him, bro,” he says, pleading with him to stop the attack. “He ain’t done nothing to you.”

The NYPD said the off-duty officers arrested a 32-year-old man accused of slashing the 27-year-old victim after a verbal altercation. Charges were pending.

Long Island Rail Road slashing caught on video Video

“The reality is, if force against riders is used or threatened and if they choose to defend themselves, there is a likelihood that the assailants might get hurt and the riders defending themselves are the ones being arrested,” said Steven Raiser, a partner at Raiser & Kenniff, the law firm representing Daniel Penny. “That is a ‘Catch-22,’ let yourself, or someone else, be a victim, or risk being a defendant in court.”


WATCH: Man shot in head during fight on New York City subway

Man shot in head during fight on New York City subway Video

Penny could face up to 15 years in prison after placing an emotionally unstable man named Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold last year. He cooperated with police and was initially released, and is set to return to court on Wednesday.

Although witnesses described the Marine Corps veteran and college student as a “hero,” he turned himself in 11 days later when District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office charged him with manslaughter.

Screenshot from bystander video showing Jordan Neely being held in a chokehold on the New York City subway. (Luces de Nueva York/Juan Alberto Vazquez via Storyful)

Penny allegedly told police an “irate” Neely “was threatening everybody” and ranting about going to prison, according to court documents.

WATCH: New York straphangers weigh in on subway crime

New York straphangers weigh in on subway crime Video

“Between stops, you’re trapped on the train, and there’s nowhere to go. You can try to move away, but you can only do so much on a packed car,” Penny, 24, previously told Fox News Digital. “I was scared. I looked around, and I saw older women and children, and they were terrified.”

Neely had a documented history of mental illness and a criminal record that included prior subway assaults. He allegedly got on the train, threw his jacket down and began threatening to kill people while warning, “I’m prepared to go to jail for life.”

Members of the NYPD and National Guard conduct randomized bag searches in New York City’s subway system on Monday, March 11, 2024. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a five-point plan earlier this month, deploying 750 members of the National Guard to combat a near 20% rise in crime levels throughout the subways. (Matthew McDermott for Fox News Digital)


“The problem with subway riders being vigilant is less of a solution now that Danny has been hauled off to court for defending himself and others,” Raiser told Fox News Digital. “The police and military are required even more since Danny’s arrest, because the riders themselves must not only be fearful of their would-be attackers, but of how they will be judged if they step forward to help one another.”

Experts are warning that the case against Penny is dissuading other potential good Samaritans from getting involved when they have a choice not to. This as robberies and transit crime continue to climb in the Big Apple – by 5.8% and 6.9%, respectively, so far this year over last, according to the latest NYPD statistics.

Commuters travel through a subway tunnel in midtown Manhattan on Monday, March 11, 2024. (Matthew McDermott for Fox News Digital)

“Alvin Bragg has destroyed anybody’s chance of intervening and helping somebody,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “New Yorkers were always trained to mind your own business, but some have gotten involved for moral reasons. But after seeing how cases are handled by the district attorney in Manhattan, specifically, everybody is for themselves at this point, and I don’t blame them.”

An NYPD officer patrols a subway station in New York City on Monday, March 11, 2024. (Matthew McDermott for Fox News Digital)

As for the governor’s move to bolster security with the National Guard, Raiser said it’s only a temporary solution to a long-standing problem.

“This approach is, at best, a Band-Aid to temporarily control the lawlessness until a solution can be found,” he said. “Gov. Hochul needs to produce a plan to address the mentally ill and the homelessness crisis that is the root cause of havoc in our subways.”

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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