Former marine Daniel Penny, who is facing manslaughter charges for subduing and allegedly killing the homeless man Jordan Neely on the New York Subway, has surpassed $2 million in donations for his legal defense fund.
Penny turned himself over to police May 12, less than 24 hours after the Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced it would pursue manslaughter charges against him in connection to the death of the 30-year-old Neely. A legal defense fund set up for the veteran surpassed $2 million Monday morning, a testament the case has “struck a chord” with people all across the country and the globe, Penny’s lawyers told the New York Post.
“The outpouring of support for Danny is always measured by the amount raised, but what is even more telling is that tens of thousands of people from all over the world have taken the time to donate,” Penny’s attorney, Steven M. Raiser, told the outlet.
“This level of support demonstrates that the situation forced upon him in that subway car earlier this month, and his subsequent arrest, has struck a chord in the psyche of New Yorkers and has been echoed nationwide,” Raiser continued.“The message being sent by this massive showing of support is that any attempt to undermine the right and duty to protect one another against an imminent threat will be challenged.”
— New York Post (@nypost) May 14, 2023
Penny subdued Neely on the Subway earlier this month after the latter reportedly began acting aggressively towards passengers on the train. A 66-year-old witness to the event stated that Neely, who had been arrested more than 40 times, reportedly threatened he would “kill a motherf—er,” adding that the homeless man said he would do it despite the threat of jail time or a bullet.
The witness added that Penny only stepped in to subdue Neely when things “got out of hand.” Penny put Neely into a chokehold, subduing him until the train reached the next station. Emergency responders, however, were unable to revive Neely, whose death the medical examiner later ruled a homicide.
Penny’s lawyers have argued that the veteran did not intend to kill Neely, but only sought to protect himself and others.
That stance has been rejected by Neely’s lawyers who have argued that if Penny had wanted to help he wouldn’t have put Neely into a chokehold. This argument was echoed by Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters whose op-ed in the Huffington Post accused Penny of being an unfeeling “vigilante.”
“While on the train, Jordan expressed that he had nothing to eat, nothing to drink and was so exhausted that he was ready to go to jail. Instead of being offered compassion, he was violently murdered by a vigilante who pinned him down and, for 15 minutes, choked him to death,” Waters wrote.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued simply that “Jordan Neely was murdered.”
Penny’s actions, although considered vigilantism by some, are being heralded as heroic by others, many of whom have donated money to his legal defense. (RELATED: Family Of Subway Chokehold Victim Breaks Silence)
“This guy is a hero in my eyes,” one anonymous donor wrote, according to The New York Post. “He should get a medal for what he did, not jail time … We need to take our City back. God bless this guy for trying to help.”
“We are in troubled times,” wrote another anonymous donor, “We need more people like [Daniel] Penny.”
Though set up by Penny’s lawyers, the legal defense fundraiser was endorsed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Twitter. “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,” he declared.