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Daniel Penny's crowd-sourced defense funds nears $1 million as DeSantis throws support behind the man who choked Jordan Neely to death

Former U.S. Marine Daniel Penny is taken from a New York City Police precinct under arrest for the death of Jordan Neely
Retired US Marine Daniel Penny is taken from a New York City Police precinct under arrest for the death of Jordan Neely.REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • Supporters are raising defense funds for Daniel Penny, the man charged for killing Jordan Neely on the NYC subway.

  • Penny is facing a manslaughter charge in the death of Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man.

  • A lawyer for Neely's family, meanwhile, says the charge should be murder instead of manslaughter.

Top conservatives are celebrating Daniel Penny, the 24-year-old whose chokehold killed a homeless man on a New York subway earlier this month, as a "Good Samaritan."

On Twitter, Flordia Gov. Ron DeSantis – a possible 2024 presidential contender – urged followers to donate to Penny's fundraiser to "stop the Left's pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law-abiding citizens."

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"We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let's show this Marine... America's got his back," DeSantis tweeted.

The online fundraiser for Penny's legal fees, run by his attorneys Steven Raiser and Thomas Kenniff, had surpassed $1 million as of publication. The fundraiser describes Penny as a college student and "decorated Marine veteran" who is facing criminal charges for "protecting individuals on a NYC subway train from an assailant who later died."

The "assailant who later died" is Jordan Neely, the 30-year-old homeless man who was behaving erratically on the subway on May 1 when Penny placed him in a chokehold that resulted in his death. While Neely's behavior alarmed some passengers, one eyewitness told The New York Times that Neely never tried to assault anyone. No evidence has yet surfaced that Neely physically attacked anyone on the subway.

The office of the Manhattan District Attorney charged Penny with 2nd-degree manslaughter last week. The case has divided New Yorkers, who are grappling with a rise in crime on the New York subway system. There have been multiple protests since the incident in support of Neely, who many see as a victim of the city's lackluster effort to address homelessness and mental health.

Meanwhile, the case has won Penny a degree of celebrity status among some national conservative politicians, like DeSantis, and conservative activists, like Charlie Kirk, as well as police organizations.

The National Police Association, an advocacy group representing cops, called Penny the "NY subway good Samaritan" on Twitter, adding that Alvin Bragg, the district attorney, has "stopped good Samaritans from stopping criminals." The National Police Association also linked to Penny's fundraiser.

If convicted, Penny faces up to 15 years in prison.

Lennon Edwards, an attorney for Neely's family, argued that Penny should be charged with murder, not manslaughter.

"Justice looks like a conviction for murder," Edwards said at a press conference following the announcement of Penny's charges. "He chose to continue to hold that chokehold minute after minute, second after second until there was no life left in Jordan Neely."

Read the original article on Business Insider