A fundraiser set up to cover Marine veteran Daniel Penny’s legal expenses in his New York City subway criminal case topped $2 million Monday.
Penny was arraigned in a New York court Friday on a second-degree manslaughter charge in the death of 30-year-old homeless man Jordan Neely.
“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,” Raiser wrote in a Sunday email to the New York Post.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
The attorneys said in a statement last week that Penny “never intended to harm” Neely.
A witness told the New York Post that Neely was verbally threatening passengers on the subway of the afternoon of May 1 when Penny stepped in.
“[Neely] said, ‘I don’t care. I’ll take a bullet, I’ll go to jail’ because he would kill people on the train,” a woman who witnessed the incident told the Post. “He said, ‘I would kill a motherf***er. I don’t care. I’ll take a bullet. I’ll go to jail.’”
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The 66-year-old woman recounted that Penny — a New York native who served in the Marines from 2017 to 2021 — initially did not engage Neely during his aggressive rant but eventually acted.
“This gentleman, Mr. Penny, did not stand up,” the rider said. “Did not engage with the gentleman. He said not a word. It was all Mr. Neely that was … threatening the passengers. If he did not get what he wants.”
Penny put Neely in a chokehold as seen in video from the incident, while two other passengers helped restrain the man.
Those assisting Penny have not been charged, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
The city medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide, concluding he died due to “compression of neck (chokehold).”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg‘s office charged Penny after multiple protests broke out in the city over the incident.
Fox News reported that Neely had been arrested more than three dozen times and had a history of mental illness and drug addition.
“Most recently, in 2021, he punched a 67-year-old woman in the face, breaking her nose and orbital bone, according to court records,” Fox News said.
Neely also allegedly sucker-punched two men in the subway, breaking one victim’s nose.
Some high profile people have stepped up to support Penny, including Navy JAG veteran and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as journalist Tim Pool, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, and musician Kid Rock.
DeSantis tweeted, “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.”
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.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) May 13, 2023
Pool gave $20,000; Ramaswamy, $10,000 and Kid Rock, $5,000.
I just donated $20,000 to Daniel Penny’s Defense fund
Penny is the Subway Good Samaritan and we are lucky to have brave souls like him who are willing to do the right thing
I will elaborate on my position in my morning segment at 10amhttps://t.co/bfty04IAjl
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 15, 2023
Penny’s attorneys wrote on the GiveSendGo site, “All contributions are greatly appreciated. Any proceeds collected which exceed those necessary to cover Mr. Penny’s legal defense will be donated to a mental health advocacy program in New York City.”
Many left words of encouragement along with their contributions on the site, writing that they’re praying for Penny and that he did the right thing by seeking to protect himself and others.