The New York Police Department has reportedly identified one of two men seen on video helping former US Marine Daniel Penny restrain Jordan Neely on a subway train earlier this month.
Mr Penny choked to death the homeless, former street performer on the Manhattan F train on 1 May.
Neely’s death was ruled a homicide due to compression against his neck by the New York Medical Examiner’s office. Video footage, along with eyewitness accounts, show a man believed to be Mr Penny with his arm wrapped around Neely’s neck for several minutes until his eyes shut and his body goes limp.
On 12 May, Mr Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter. He was released after a brief arraignment hearing on $100,000 bail. He did not enter a plea, and his next appearance is scheduled for 17 July.
Sources told The New York Post on Friday that authorities have been scouring surveillance footage and believe they have identified one of two men who helped Mr Penny pin Neely to the floor of the train.
In a cellphone video of the incident, one man can be seen trying to tie up Neely’s arms, and the other put pressure on Neely’s shoulder.
The source told The Post that NYPD officials have yet to speak with the person identified in the video.
Widely-shared video footage, captured by journalist Juan Alberto Vazquez, shows a man believed to be Mr Penny and two other men holding Neely to the floor of a train car on 1 May. Police initially questioned but did not arrest Mr Penny.
Attorneys for Mr Penny said, in a statement shared with The Independent last week, that they are “confident” he will be “fully absolved of any wrongdoing” when all the “facts and circumstances” emerge.
“When Mr Penny, a decorated Marine veteran, stepped in to protect himself and his fellow New Yorkers, his well-being was not assured. He risked his own life and safety, for the good of his fellow passengers,” according to the statement from law firm, Raiser and Kenniff.
“The unfortunate result was the unintended and unforeseen death of Mr Neely,” they wrote.
Neely’s funeral was held at the Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem on 19 May. In his eulogy, the Reverend Al Sharpton decried Mr Penny’s release following his arraignment.
“Because when they choked Jordan, they put their arms around all of us … All of us have the right to live,” Mr Sharpton said during the service.
“We can’t live in a city where you can choke me to death with no provocation, no weapon, no threat, and you go home and sleep in your bed while my family got to put me in a cemetery.”