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Defense Fund for NYC Marine Accused of Subway Chokehold Death Surpasses $1.5 Million

Supporters Rally Behind Marine Facing Manslaughter Charge in NYC Subway Incident

The defense fund for New York City Marine veteran Daniel Penny has received an enormous increase of nearly half a million dollars within a single day, totaling more than $1.5 million after Penny was accused of causing the subway chokehold death of a disorderly homeless individual. The 24-year-old war veteran faced an arraignment on Friday in relation to one count of second-degree manslaughter for the fatal choking of 30-year-old Jordan Neely, whom the prosecution claims was ‘making threats and scaring passengers.’ Penny’s legal representatives, Thomas Kenniff and Steven Kaiser, started a fundraising campaign on the Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo on Tuesday. With the fund reaching an impressive $1,097,282 by Saturday afternoon, the total surpassed $1.5 million by Sunday morning.

Kenniff expressed his amazement at the exceptional display of support and generosity towards Daniel Penny, stating that the response is beyond anything they could have anticipated. He also relayed Penny’s deep gratitude for the countless New Yorkers who have rallied behind him. In the unfortunate incident, Neely, who was homeless and suffered from mental illness, was witnessed entering a northbound train on May 1st while shouting unintelligibly. A 66-year-old woman described the contents of Neely’s outburst to the New York Post, saying that he declared he didn’t care about jail time or taking a bullet, as he was willing to kill others on the train.

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Penny, who is also a college student and decorated Marine veteran, quickly intervened and subdued Neely by grabbing him from behind and pulling him to the ground. While struggling in Penny’s grasp for several minutes, Neely eventually went limp, as captured on video by a freelance journalist. Penny’s attorneys have argued that his actions were solely to protect himself and other passengers aboard the train.

On the ‘Daniel Penny’s Legal Defense Fund’ webpage, Penny’s lawyers explained that the collected funds will be used to cover all legal fees resulting from criminal charges and possible legal suits. They also promised that any proceeds exceeding the necessary expenses for defending Penny will be donated to a mental health advocacy program based in New York City.

The fundraising campaign garnered support from noteworthy figures, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who announced his backing for Penny via Twitter. DeSantis encouraged people to show their support for the Marine by stating, ‘Let’s show this Marine… America’s got his back.’ Over the weekend, a contribution of $10,000 was made by an anonymous donor with an accompanying message expressing gratitude for Penny’s protection of NYC citizens that day.

Another anonymous donation of $2,500 was made with a simple message: ‘God bless our vets.’ Among the supporters, a man named Brett Kingstone contributed $1,000 to Penny’s defense and commended his actions, criticizing today’s society for vilifying heroes and glorifying villains. Kingstone’s message urges support for heroes like Penny and hopes for an end to the villains attempting to ‘destroy our nation.’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican Congress member from Florida, also donated $100 to the cause. Gaetz expressed his view that in a just world, Daniel Penny would receive the key to the city rather than face an arraignment.

In addition to Penny’s defense fund, another fundraising campaign was established last week to cover the funeral and memorial costs for the late Jordan Neely. As of Saturday afternoon, this GoFundMe account had successfully raised over $75,000.

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Neely’s unfortunate death has sparked a divide among New Yorkers, with some supporting Penny and labeling him a ‘hero,’ while others condemn his actions, accusing him of ‘murder.’ Prior to the subway incident, Neely had been arrested more than three dozen times and had a history of violent outbursts on Manhattan subway platforms.

Most recently, Neely was involved in a disturbing altercation in 2021, during which court records obtained by Fox News Digital reveal that he punched a 67-year-old woman in the face, severely damaging her nose and orbital bone. Only four months prior to this incident, Neely reportedly attacked another woman with a punch to the face.

Court documents also detail Neely’s involvement in two separate assaults in 2019, in which he allegedly ‘sucker-punched’ two men in the face at different subway stations within a month of each other. One of these unsuspecting victims suffered a broken nose as a result of Neely’s violent outburst.

Due to his consistent presence in the system, outreach workers had become well-acquainted with Neely. So much so, that he even made it onto the city’s ‘Top 50’ list – an internally maintained roster by the Department of Homeless Services reserved for those most in need of assistance, as reported by the New York Post.

Nevertheless, the heated debate among New Yorkers and others regarding Penny’s actions on the subway continues. As his defense fund grows, it symbolizes the significant support behind Penny’s courageous intervention that fateful day.

While some see Penny as a hero standing up for public safety and putting a stop to the erratic behavior of an unstable man, others argue that physical violence was not the appropriate response to Neely’s outburst. The ongoing controversy highlights the conflict between prioritizing individual safety and the issues surrounding the use of force and mental health within our society.

For now, Daniel Penny and his legal team continue to fight for his exoneration, relying on the substantial financial and emotional backing from thousands of supporters who believe in Penny’s honorable intentions and the value of protecting one’s fellow citizens.


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