(Article by Jack Phillips republished from TheEpochTimes.com)
His lawyers, Thomas Kenniff and Steven Kaiser, launched the campaign on the crowdfunding site GiveSendGo last week, saying Penny was only “protecting individuals” on a subway train from whom they described as an assailant, who later died. Penny, 24, was arraigned on May 12 on one count of second-degree manslaughter for allegedly fatally choking 30-year-old Jordan Neely.
According to prosecutors, Neely — who has a lengthy criminal history and was described as homeless — was “making threats and scaring passengers.” In New York state, a conviction for second-degree manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
“Funds are being raised to pay Mr. Penny’s legal fees incurred from any criminal charges filed and any future civil lawsuits that may arise, as well as expenses related to his defense,” the crowdfunding page for Penny reads. “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.”
In response to the fundraising, Kenniff told Fox News that “the outpouring of generosity and support for Daniel Penny is beyond anything we could have imagined.”
“Daniel is incredibly grateful for the support of so many New Yorkers,” he said.
The fundraiser was boosted on Twitter by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who’s reportedly looking to run for president.
In the incident, a witness, who wished to remain anonymous, told the New York Post that Neely appeared to be having a mental episode and started ranting wildly while on the northbound F subway train on May 1.
“He said, ‘I don’t care. I’ll take a bullet. I’ll go to jail’ because he would kill people on the train,” the 66-year-old female witness said, referring to what Neely said. “He said, ‘I would kill a [expletive]. I don’t care. I’ll take a bullet. I’ll go to jail.’”
Penny didn’t initially engage Neely, she said. He only got involved when the situation got out of hand.
The woman told the paper that after the incident, she went back to “thank” Penny.
“I hope he has a great lawyer, and I’m praying for him,” the woman said of Penny last week. “And I pray that he gets treated fairly, I really do. Because after all of this ensued, I went back and made sure that I said ‘thank you’ to him.
“This gentleman, Mr. Penny, did not stand up … 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.
“Gonna go to jail for life? What? What penalties involve going to jail for life? Could you tell me? Yeah, it’s not kicking somebody in the shin or punching somebody in the face.”
Similar comments were left on the GiveSendGo fundraiser, with a number of donors saying that Penny didn’t do anything wrong and was defending himself.
Late last week, Penny surrendered to police to face the manslaughter charge. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had confirmed days before that Penny would be arrested on a charge of second-degree manslaughter in the case.
“We cannot provide any additional information until he has been arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, which we expect to take place tomorrow,” Bragg said on May 11.
Last week, the law firm alleged in a statement that their 24-year-old client was acting in self-defense when he held Neely in a chokehold on the F train on May 1, which allegedly caused him to die of compression of the neck, according to the medical examiner.
The attorneys also alleged that their client didn’t mean to kill Neely, a 30-year-old man whose friends say suffered from worsening mental health. The attorneys noted that Neely had been behaving aggressively toward other passengers on the subway and that Penny stepped in to do what he thought was right and seemed reasonable.
Witnesses reported that Neely was complaining loudly, allegedly shouting, “I want food,” “I’m not taking no for an answer,” “I’m ready to go back to jail,” and “I’ll hurt anyone on this train.” They also reported that he had harassed passengers for years.
Neely has a lengthy criminal record that includes dozens of prior arrests and also had a warrant out for his arrest related to a felony assault at the time of his death.
Video footage has emerged online showing Penny and another man who helped to restrain the homeless man rendering aid to Neely by placing him into a “recovery position” after he fell unconscious. The video also shows that Neely was still alive after Penny released him from the chokehold.
Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report.
Report at: TheEpochTimes.com