OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A witness to a deadly incident earlier this month involving a former Marine who put an unruly subway passenger in a chokehold that ultimately resulted in the passenger’s death called the veteran a “hero” in the wake of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filing charges of second-degree manslaughter.
“He’s a hero,” said the witness, who has lived in New York City for 50 years.
The woman, who self-described as a woman of color, railed at Bragg for filing charges, saying it was wrong of him to do so.
“It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that he saved a lot of people that day that could have gotten hurt,” she told the news outlet.
“A legal defense fund established on behalf of Daniel Penny, who has been charged in the chokehold killing of Jordan Neely on a subway car, has swelled to more than $2.67 million in a matter of days,” Gothamist reported.
“More than 54,000 people have donated to the fund set up by Penny’s lawyers on GiveSendGo, which bills itself as the “#1 Free Christian Fundraising Site” and “leading freedom fundraising platform.” Some 40,000 have offered their prayers as well. The fund was created last week by the law firm Raiser & Kenniff, P.C., and the money and prayers have flowed since – right along with the veneration of Penny by conservative politicians and other voices,” the report stated.
“Donations have ranged from a few dollars to the thousands, including $10,000 from Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican running for president, $5,000 from the musician Kid Rock and $20,000 from conservative commentator Timothy Pool. Penny, 24, has been arraigned on a second-degree manslaughter charge and has not yet entered a plea. The website does not indicate the origin of the donations, but the size and breadth of the support lay bare the challenge for prosecutors seeking to convict the decorated Marine veteran,” the report added.
The report said that Neely, who had more than 40 arrests and recently served a year in jail for a violent incident, stormed onto the northbound F Train on May 1 and began threatening passengers.
“I’m sitting on a train reading my book, and, all of a sudden, I hear someone spewing this rhetoric. He said, ‘I don’t care if I have to kill an F, I will. I’ll go to jail, I’ll take a bullet,’” said the woman, who is in her 60s.
Several scared passengers began crowding towards the subway car’s exits.
“I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go,’” she said. “The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives.”
After Neely used the words “kill” and “bullet,” that’s when Daniel Penny stepped in.
“Why in the world would you take a bullet? Why? You don’t take a bullet because you’ve snatched something from somebody’s hand. You take a bullet for violence,” she told Fox News Digital, which added:
The witness said it was clear to her that Penny waited until the last minute to intervene for the sake of his fellow passengers. She heard a thump when he dragged Neely to the ground but couldn’t see clearly until the doors opened at the Broadway-Lafayette station and most of the passengers exited. The witness waited for the police to arrive and provided a statement.
“Mr. Penny cared for people. That’s what he did. That is his crime,” she told Fox News Digital, adding that she and some other passengers thanked Penny after the incident.
She added that Penny seemed shaken up by the altercation after the fact.
“Nobody wants to kill anybody. Mr. Penny didn’t want to kill that man,” she said. “You should have seen the way Mr. Penny looked. He was distraught. He was very, very, very visibly distressed. And he didn’t go. He didn’t run. He stayed.”
During Penny’s arraignment, Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass stated that the Marine veteran, who has resided in the New York area his whole life, continued to restrain Neely for a “period of time” even after Neely had ceased any movement.
Penny, however, remained on the train and went with NYPD officers to a nearby station to voluntarily answer questions. He was released afterward, but Bragg decided to prosecute days later.
“It took three men to hold Mr. Neely down. He was struggling,” the witness said.