Since being charged with manslaughter for the death of Jordan Neely, former Marine Daniel Penny has seen his legal defense fund raise nearly $2 million from supporters across the nation.
As reported by Fox News, the fundraiser on the conservative website GiveSendGo raised over $1.8 million as of Sunday. The fundraiser was posted by Raiser & Kenniff P.C., the law firm representing Penny after he was charged with manslaughter in the second degree for the incident on May 1st. The funds are expected to cover not only Penny’s defense in the upcoming criminal trial, but to also cover any further civil suits he may face, with leftover funds being donated to charity.
“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,” the webpage states.
“The outpouring of generosity and support for Daniel Penny, is beyond anything we could have imagined,” said the law firm in a statement. “Daniel is incredibly grateful for the support of so many New Yorkers.”
During the incident in question, the 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a homeless black man, was harassing and threatening multiple passengers on a New York City subway. Witnesses said he tore off his jacket and threw it on the ground, before screaming that he was ready to go to prison and that he was not afraid to die.
“He said, ‘I don’t care. I’ll take a bullet, I’ll go to jail’ because he would kill people on the train,” said a 66-year-old woman who was on the train car when the incident happened. “He said, ‘I would kill a motherf—er. I don’t care. I’ll take a bullet. I’ll go to jail.’”
Penny eventually confronted Neely by approaching him from behind and putting him in a chokehold, with several other passengers quickly helping to restrain him. Once Neely lost consciousness, Penny turned Neely on his side and kept his limbs moving in an effort to revive him until paramedics arrived. He was later pronounced dead, and although the Manhattan medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide, there is still no proof that his death was directly related to Penny’s chokehold.
“When Mr. Penny, a decorated Marine veteran, stepped in to protect himself and his fellow New Yorkers, his well-being was not assured,” said Steve Raiser, one of Penny’s attorneys. “He risked his own life and safety, for the good of his fellow passengers. The unfortunate result was the unintended and unforeseen death of Mr. Neely. We are confident that once all the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are brought to bear, Mr. Penny will be fully absolved of any wrongdoing.”
Neely was described as having mental issues, and had previously been arrested over 40 times for similar behavior on the subway, including several cases of assault.